By Lindsey Stuckless
The Haldimand Press
DUNNVILLE—Haldimand County Council deferred the decision regarding a splash pad at Dunnville Lions Park until a public meeting is held to discuss what the new project would mean to the future of the town’s wading pool.
Ward 6 Councillor Bernie Corbett said while he fully supports a splash pad, he doesn’t want it to mean losing the wading pool at Dunnville’s Central Park.
“I would like to have assurance up front that moving ahead on the splash pad does not mean the wading pool is being taken away,” said Corbett, “The needs of the families in my ward need to be taken into consideration and I think there will be some push back if the pool is gone.”
Haldimand Chief Administrative Officer Don Boyle said the trend is that municipalities have been getting rid of wading pools and moving towards splash pads, as they do not need lifeguards, are cleaner, and have longer hours of operation. Ward 5 Councillor Rob Shirton echoed Boyle’s sentiments.
“You don’t need both. If we are going down the road and putting in the splash pad, I understand the wading pool will be gone,” said Shirton.
The splash pad project was brought forward to the County by the Dunnville Lions Club and the Dunnville Lioness Club in late 2018. The clubs proposed joining with the County through the Community Partnership Program (CPP). Both parties met with several groups to determine the most suitable location for the new splash pad. After weighing different parks in Dunnville, the parties decided on Dunnville Lions Park because of its proximity to walking and biking trails, as well as other recreational activities.
Councillor Corbett said he did not want to delay the project, but wanted the public to clearly understand what it will mean to the downtown pool.
“Many of the families in my ward utilize the wading pool; it is easily accessible from downtown. I want this decision to be vetted by the public,” said Corbett.
Craig Manley, General Manager of Community and Development Services, reminded Council that regardless of splash pad approval, the capital budget has the Dunnville wading pool scheduled to be closed in 2023.
“It has always been the intention of Council to decommission the wading pool in 2023 because it will be at the end of its lifespan,” said Manley.
The estimated cost of the splash pad is $750,000, with the Lions and Lioness clubs responsible for raising 65%, or $487,500. The club is asking the County to pay the remaining 35%, or $262,500, from the Community Partnership Capital reserve. County staff said once approved, a two-year fundraising program will begin, which will include third-party grant applications, corporate funding requests, and community fundraisers.
Haldimand County staff will organize a public meeting to discuss the splash pad and wading pool before County votes on the recommendation.