St. Catharines approves location for its fifth splash pad

Photo by: Brenden Cowan

St. Catharines will soon install its fifth splash pad, the details of which were finalized through a unanimous vote at city council on Jan. 30.

The splash pad will be built in Secord Woods Park in Merritton, and will cost $1.5 million to complete. After searching for public input on the potential of this location when it was still just a proposal last fall, the council has confirmed that the community seemed to approve, leading the city to move forward with their plans.

The splash pad will contain a seasonal washroom as well as a sun shelter. The splash pad and each of its corresponding facilities will be built within the park next to Applewood Public School.

According to the results of the studies by the City Council, a lingering public concern was the absence of any on-site parking. The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) has presented a solution by offering space in Applewood Public School’s parking lot during the summer.

There will be some overlap between the school year and the splash pad season, but a staff report claimed this period would be “minimal”—equating to approximately five to six weeks per year.

Despite this, Merritton Councillor Jackie Lindal made an amendment to add a 10-space parking lot on the site of the splash pad at an estimated cost of $100,000. She believed this was necessary because of the potentially rising popularity of the splash pad as summers continue to grow warmer. She also stressed the importance of accessibility and the issues that may arise from the overlap between the school year and the splash pad season.

Merritton Councillor Greg Miller argued that there is no necessity to immediately add more parking, therefore waiting for a more crucial time for this addition would be a better plan. Lindal asserted that building everything at once rather than staggering the process would minimize costs, however, her amendment failed.

The city’s plan also includes a relocation of the Secord Woods Park playground. The site will be moved next to the splash pad in an estimated six to 10 years when it requires a replacement.

While council had originally approved a $1 million budget for the splash pad in 2021, another $350,000 had to be added because of heightened construction costs. $200,000 had already been approved for the design of the splash pad and its surrounding facilities in 2020.

The splash pad is expected to begin construction later this year, and it will be ready to welcome children and families by spring 2024.

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