Survey results for proposed splash pad location
by Sandy Lindsay

December 14,  2016


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On a Saugeen Times recent survey, readers were asked about their views on the proposed splash pad to be located in Port Elgin.

The response was staggering. Readers were not against the splash pad and, in fact, many were in favor of one in Port Elgin.  However, when it came to the proposed location of North Shore Park on the shore of Lake Huron, the results were overwhelmingly opposed to it at 85.6 per cent against.

While the survey speaks volumes, there has also been a petition circulated that resulted in more than 1,700 people adding their voices in opposition.

This has become a divisive issue in the community and need not have been.

The project was initiated by a group of young women in the community who wanted what many other communities have ... a splash pad for their young children.  They have been exceptional in holding many fundraising events, from two children's summer festivals to a New Year's celebration, and are to be commended.   Most people agree with their idea.  Who does not want to see young children happy and playing in a splash pad?  The splash pad is not the issue ... the location is.

At a recent Port Elgin Rotary meeting, two of the mothers, Amy Shute and Alana Young, gave a presentation on the proposed splash pad.  When asked about the location, they said "... Our goal is to have a splash pad in Port Elgin. We are open to locations but North Shore Park is preferred because of existing amenities. The new **Recreation Master Plan will highlight the recommendation for the splash pad. If the location is a problem, we are going to defer to the expert's opinion (consultant) and the Town.  If there is another location not part of the 16 considered, then we are definitely open to that. We want a location however, that can be reached by any mode of travel ... vehicle, on foot, bicycle, etc.  There were 16 locations looked at and North Shore Park seemed the most suitable." 

"A splash pad is a free, safe and accessible place for children to play," said Shute. "There are more than 1600 children in Saugeen Shores under 14 who would use such a facility. It also is a place where an older sibling can play while mom sits with a new baby.  There will be 16 water features and businesses can purchase one for $3,000. Major washroom improvements will have to be made to include four change rooms.  Total cost for the actual splash pad is $204,000 plus $157,000 for connections, change rooms and landscaping."

**the consultant of the Recreation Master Plan did in fact recommend North Shore Park

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

The mothers reported that they are currently at 66 per cent of their fundraising goal with commitments made by major partners: the Port Elgin and District Lions Club is the major partner ($100,000), while Bruce Power ($50,000), Society of Energy Professionals ($20,000), private donations ($5,000), business donations ($14,000)and Community Foundations grant ($15,000) and individual donations for a total to date of $240,000.

They requested that Port Elgin Rotary consider donating $20,000 over four years, specifically for landscaping to include armor-stone retaining walls, garden areas and beautification of the splash pad. The amount would make the club a 'tidal wave' sponsor to be recognized on the 6'x4' donor sign at the entrance to the splash pad. The final landscaping design will be chosen following the tendering process.  "The splash pad will be larger than the one in Owen Sound to accommodate more than 20 children at a time."

Why Two Splash Pads in Saugeen Shores?

Southampton Rotary will be installing a splash pad as part of the Jubilee Park project in Southampton that was part of the overall original accessibility plan for Jubilee Park.  Port Elgin Rotarians asked .... why two splash pads as opposed to one large one for the whole community?  To the question, the two mothers raised an excellent point .

"There are families in Saugeen Shores (Port Elgin and Southampton) who are on the low income scale, especially in Port Elgin. In fact, many do not even own a vehicle and, because there is no public transit system, two smaller splash pads would be beneficial for the children of both communities."

The splash pad is heading for a July, 2017 opening.

If the young mothers are open to other location options ... then it begs the question ... why the insistence for 'historic' North Shore Park when so many in the community are against it? 

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Thursday, December 15, 2016