Nothing is happier than the sound of kids laughing,” says Roger Mayer.
That seems to be the philosophy behind a spray park being proposed by him and his wife Debbie for Clearwater.
“We’re excited about it and we want the community to be excited about it too,” Debbie Mayer said.
The couple approached Clearwater town council with the idea over one year ago.
Since then they have attended several other meetings and have been asked to provide costs for purchasing the equipment, maintenance and so on.
Recently they partnered with Clearwater Rotary Club to fundraise for the project.
The most likely location for the spray park would be in Rotary Sports Park near Clearwater Secondary School.
The site would have the advantages of a central location, visibility from Highway 5, already installed water, sewer and electricity, parking, plus existing washrooms and changing rooms.
Looking into the future, the Mayers say they can see the park becoming a major gathering place, with a gazebo or bandshell, picnic tables and so on. It already is, in some sense, the center of sports activity in Clearwater, with the nearby skateboard park, soccer fields and Sportsplex.
The spray park would have eight features geared to three age groups, from toddlers to 12-year-olds.
Cost to purchase the equipment would be about $130,000, while installing it would add another $30,000, so the total project cost would be about $160,000.
The Mayers say they don’t expect to raise all that from the community.
Instead, they hope to get enough money locally so they can go out and look for matching grants from foundations and other providers.
There don’t appear to be any federal or provincial grants available at this time. However, they hope to have a project application ready to go if any grants are announced.
Roger Mayer noted that this was the approach used by District of Clearwater and TNRD with the new dressing rooms being built for the Sportsplex. Staff had an application that was shelf-ready and applied for the funding as soon as it became available.
Water usage by the spray park would be minimal. The features only turn on when someone wants to use them, and only for a limited period of time.
Maintenance would consist mostly of twice-daily inspections, which could be done when the washrooms at Rotary Sports Park are opened and closed.
One of the Mayer’s sons, Gordie, passed away in an accident a few years ago. Since then the family has raised money in his memory and given it away in bursaries and for other worthwhile community causes.
Now they would like to something more concrete, they say.
However, the spray park wouldn’t be in just Gordie’s memory, but in remembrance of all those who helped build this community. The Mayers mentioned as examples Bill Mattenley, Ed Buck and Bill Collison.
What they are looking for now is two things. The first is people to serve on a committee to oversee the project. They particularly would like to see some young people with families involved.
The second would be to have people donate to an account that is set up at Interior Savings Credit Union for the project. Name of the account is Memoriam Splash Park – Clearwater Rotary.