With design revealed, spray park moves into fundraising stage

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

On Nov. 28 the Make a Big Splash Spray Park Advisory Committee brought its final proposed designs to Fort Frances Town Council on Nov. 28. With a finalized plan, the group now has an idea of cost and can move into the fundraising stage of the project.

The design was coordinated by Operations and Facilities Manager Travis Rob and the company building the spray park. It will feature a theme that relies heavily on the town’s proximity to Rainy Lake and Rainy River as well as the activities that happen on the water. Rob says the design has been in the works for about a year.

“I started working on the preliminary design in December of last year,” Rob said. “Maybe a little bit before that. I had a number of conversations with our designer about the size and budget, the number and types of features to the point where they had developed a preliminary draft design for us to look at. So I brought that forward to the committee after the committee was made.”

The Make a Big Splash Committee has released designs and has launched fundraising efforts. There are many ways to donate, and residents can follow the Committee on Facebook to get the latest on the project and upcoming events. – Facebook photo

When Rob brought the initial design to the Committee there was some discussion on the theme.

“They looked at it and then talked about maybe going a different direction with the theme,” Rob said. “Our theme was fishing and tourism, trees and nature, just sort of northwestern Ontario things. So they had thought about ‘what about the Rainy Lake Mermaid.’ So I went back to the designer and she thought that was a great option.”

One of the aspects the committee wanted to include in the mermaid themed spray park was a large dumping bucket of water. Rob says they were given a version of a mermaid theme with a big bucket as part of the configuration.

“We looked at it, nobody liked it as much necessarily as the initial design with the modifications,” Rob said. “So we pulled the big bucket out of the mermaid theme, back into the fishing theme, moved some features around, re-jigged a couple of things and sent that back to them…From that is what came in that final design that we’ve presented to council with the big bucket.”

The final design includes tree features, fish, and fishing rods and a boat structure. There are two separate spaces for older and younger children. The big bucket will include an image of the Rainy Lake Mermaid. Renderings of this design are available on the Make a Big Splash FF Facebook page.

The company that has been contracted to do create the spray park is out of southern Ontario so Rob says they should be up to the task of insuring the materials used will stand up to the weather.

“It’s a Canadian company, it’s a Canadian product,” Rob said. “All of these systems are installed and constructed in such a way that they are meant to be drained at the end of the season. Part of the installation cost is having the company on site for a startup as well as the end of the season shutdown to walk our crews through how to make sure it’s drained and ready for winter.”

With a design in place the Committee has a better idea of cost; they have a fundraising goal of $396,000.

Any donations to the spray park fund over $25 will be tax receiptable via the Town of Fort Frances. There are several options for donations, donations can be submitted by cash, cheque or E-transfer. E-transfers can be sent to makeabigsplash@fortfrances.ca any donations should include name and mailing address in the note section, for receipt purposes. Any cash or cheque donations should be accompanied by notes with the same information.

From the Town of Fort Frances the committee will be seeking $75,000 from Municipal Accommodation Tax fund that number is included in the $396,000.

The group is also hoping for in-kind donations of supplies and committee members will be reaching out to local businesses as well for donations. Applications for grants will also be made to different funding agencies.

If everything comes together including the funds, Rob is hopeful to get shovels in the ground early in the spring so the spray park can be used before summer is over.

In addition to work on the spray park itself, there will be some work to redevelop the Lillie Ave and Kings Highway intersection.

“We do have in the [Town] budget the reconstruction of Lillie Ave. as well as the addition of traffic signals, which is being funded by Town reserves fully, that has nothing to do with the $396,000,” Rob said.

In addition proper parking will be added to the park.

“Right now there’s perpendicular parking kind of along the park, so we would formalize that with the reconstruction of the road, with curb and gutter, proper lines, proper stalls, barrier free stalls etc.” He added.

The hope is to have all of the work start in the spring and have the playground shut down for just part of the summer because of the construction.

“I kind of want to be able to shut the park down for the summer and focus on doing all the work there and then be able to open everything at once, have the new road, new parking, have the new traffic signals and the new splash pad all ready to roll.”