Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Big Splash

image: cbc.ca website

Yesterday, council approved $7m towards Leo Ledohowski’s plan for a waterpark at his CanadInns Polo Park.

For years I was involved with Friends of Sherbrook Pool, a group dedicated to getting more area kids to use the facility and to encourage the city to offer increased recreational opportunities there.

During this time, I heard a lot about the city not being able to increase the budgets of facilities to buy more rec equipment, how they couldn't afford to continue proper maintenance and how they couldn't afford to keep wading pools open on certain days due to operating costs. I never heard about a desperate need for a waterpark in the Polo Park area.

In a matter of a few weeks a waterpark became the number one youth recreation issue in the city.

The project appears to have been rushed ahead without much thought as to the impact it might have on the youth recreation front. Questions about access haven't even been hammered out yet. From the FreeP:

"We have an opportunity to something very good and very special for those who can not afford it," said Mayor Sam Katz, adding he believes it's foolish to complain about admission fees when the community services department has yet to determine what they will be."

I actually don't mind the idea of a waterpark for the city and I am sure that the park will be well run - Ledohowski has a good track record when it comes to hotels and their amenities. I just feel that this project could have been so much more. A chance to fix up an existing facility like the Sherbrook Pool with a waterpark expansion or a top-notch attraction to a marginal park or old industrial site.

It’s disappointing on many levels.

Update: On a positive note, the Cindy Klassen Rec Centre, (formerly Sargent Park), are coming along nicely.

Update: I see that Ottawa has a bit of a waterpark debate of its own going on. Some were questioning the province's money going into one waterpark when there is another one already planned for the region.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

$7M of public funds to help a millionaire build a private waterpark?

Winnipeg you have your priorities majorly screwed up.