Many years of effort by a Clearwater couple came to fruition on Sunday afternoon with the official opening of the Dragonfly Splash Park in Clearwater.
Debbie and Roger Mayer conceived of the splash park as a memorial to their son, Gord, who died tragically in an accident in 2002.
According to an article in in Sept. 5, 2013 issue of the Times, they also intended it to be in remembrance of all those who helped build this community, such as Bill Mattenley, Ed Buck and Bill Collison.
“Nothing is happier than the sound of kids laughing,” Roger Mayer is quoted as saying at the time.
He said much the same thing on Sunday.
“We’re really satisfied,” he said. “This is why we did it, to see all these little kids running around laughing and all these families having fun.”
Mayer noted that it is not just local residents using the new facility.
Many tourists are enjoying it as well. That means they stay longer, enjoy the community more, and spend more money while they’re here.
Speaking on behalf of his parents during Sunday’s opening, Jeff Mayer (Gord’s brother), thanked the many members of the community who helped make the project a success.
He mentioned in particular Heather Adamson of Yellowhead Community Services, and Clearwater Rotary Club members Larissa Hadley and Sherri Heier.
Mayor John Harwood commended the Mayers for turning what had been a tragedy into something that benefits children and the community.
He noted that, while the municipality will now take over the operation and maintenance of the splash park, it was built almost entirely through donations and funds raised by volunteers.
“On behalf of all grandparents, I thank you,” Harwood said, “because we now have another place to take our grandchildren when they come to visit.”
Heather Adamson, speaking on behalf of Yellowhead Community Services, also commended the Mayers.
“They lost Gord but chose to honor him through giving something positive to the community,” she said.
YCS helped manage the money for the project.
Buy-Low president Dan Bregg said the company was proud to have been involved in the splash park project.
Giving back to the communities they serve has been part of the company’s philosophy since its beginning, he said.
Buy-Low, with a $40,000 contribution, was one of the project’s three major sponsors.
The two others were the federal government’s Community Infrastructure Program, which contributed $136,000, and Wells Gray Community Forest, which gave $52,000.
Below: Buy-Low representatives (l-r) Trevor Digeso, Sam Corea, Sandy Toma and Glenn Hyokki listen as company president Dan Bregg speaks during the official opening of the new Dragonfly Splash Park on Sunday afternoon. The grocery chain was one of the major contributors to the project. Total cost, according to YCS representative Heather Adamson, was $310,000. This included the prepping of land, construction of the splash park, washroom and mechanical building, road and parking lot, fencing, landscaping and irrigation and expansion of playground equipment. Cost to District of Clearwater was about $17,000, mostly for the water connection.