Lumby water park bubbles up debate

Some residents are making waves but that won’t scuttle plans for a water park in Lumby.

Some residents are making waves but that won’t scuttle plans for a water park in Lumby.

On Monday, two delegations openly challenged the White Valley Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee’s decision to proceed with a spray park.

“There’s been a tremendous amount of public input into the process and I am surprised that at such a late hour, there were suggestions about a lack of public input,” said Rick Fairbairn, chairperson.

Among those that spoke was resident Huguette Allen.

“What are the principles that guide their decisions,” said Allen, who questions how the spray park became a funding priority.

“We have (drinking) water issues and Lumby has huge sewage issues. I want to know why this happened and I got nothing (response) at all.”

Also making a presentation was Janet Green, a former village councillor.

“With it comes operating costs and that’s what taxpayers bear,” she said.

“We need to know what that will be. I’ve asked and nobody knows what it is.”

Green is also not certain about the approval process.

“Nobody knows when this got past Lumby council,” she said.

Fairbairn insists the committee had an open process in determining the need for a spray park, including establishing a parks and recreation master plan for the area.

“It’s been in the works for years,” he said.

“We’ve had a great opportunity to involve the public.”

Lumby council voted in December to apply to the province for funding for the project.

The total construction budget for the spray park and adult fitness equipment is $453,322, with $348,258 coming from the provincial government. There is also $30,000 from the Lumby Lions and $30,000 from the Teddy’s Angels and Martin’s Devils ball teams. Local taxpayers are contributing $57,064.

Maintenance and utility costs for the spray park — which will have a recirculating water system — aren’t firm but it could be about $4,000 a year.

“There will be maintenance costs but look at what it does for the health of our kids?” said Fairbairn.

Numerous residents who support the spray park were at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Our families are taxpayers as well,” said Tracy Williamson, who is a mom and former councillor.

“There’s been 15 years of community drive for a water park.”

Williamson believes providing amenities like a spray park is key to Lumby’s revitalization.

“With the economic downturn, attracting families is important,” she said.

“We need children in our schools and families supporting our businesses.”

It’s expected construction will be completed late this year.