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Council wants focus on splash pads

Report to guide future decisions expected in June

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

It appears members of council want a focused approach towards splash pads in the community.

At the latest 2019 budget deliberation meeting, Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey pulled an item calling for $240,000 for the redevelopment of Sandy Hawley Park in the Winfields subdivision.

Eventually, Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson put forth a motion requesting an additional $100,000 to add a splash pad to the park if possible.

Nicholson also said he believes splash pads should be part of all city parks in the future.

Ward 2 regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri, said the state of Oshawa’s parks is often a subject of criticism.

In his view, placing splash pads in key locations is “not only a question of viability but a question of the city’s image.”

He said considering the number of people who use Sandy Hawley Park, “to have some swings and a slide doesn’t cut it anymore.”

McConkey noted while campaigning she heard concerns from residents that other communities have a greater amount of and more attractive splash pads in comparison to those in Oshawa.

She’d like more effort from the city to get developers to incorporate splash pads into parks.

Ward 4 regional councillor Rick Kerr questioned if the city is planning to put splash pads in all parks or locate them strategically.

Commissioner of community services Ron Diskey said staff doesn’t have “any guiding principle” when it comes to addressing splash pads.

This led Ward 5 city councillor John Gray to implore a careful approach.

“We need to develop some criteria,” he said, adding there is potential for certain neighbourhoods without a splash pad to get “park envy.”

Diskey expects a report with guiding principles for splash pads to be delivered in June.

Council eventually voted to refer the matter of a splash pad at Sandy Hawley Park to the city’s community services committee.