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Memorial Park gets a splash makeover from Rotary Club of Ladner

Rotary Waterworks in Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen. Taken July 18. Photo: Adrian MacNair

Rotary Waterworks in Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen. Taken July 18. Photo: Adrian MacNair

Story by Adrian MacNair

Ladner’s favourite summer retreat to beat the heat is getting a facelift, thanks to the efforts of the Rotary Club of Ladner in conjunction with the municipality.

Irene Forcier, chair of the water park committee for Rotary, says the service club will refurbish the water park at Memorial Park, similar to the installation at Diefenbaker Park made by the Tsawwassen club in 2011.

“We decided we wanted to do something for the working class families that don’t always have the money left over to go purchase services for their kids,” says Irene, who is a past-president and long-time member of Rotary. “There’s a large number of people who can’t afford organized sports but they can go to the water park.”

Memorial Park was purchased from Paul Ladner by the Memorial Park Association in 1919 and given over to public use in 1956. It has since become a vibrant part of the community and has been supported in part by service clubs like the Kinsmen Club of Ladner-Tsawwassen, which in 1990 funded the current water park.

“We had a situation in Memorial Park where the Kinsmen, who are tireless volunteers in the community, had built this water park 26 years ago and now it was antiquated and needed an upgrade,” says Irene, adding the concrete can and does become slippery when the water is sprayed around, accounting for injuries to children.

Modern playgrounds now make use of recycled tires as padding to soften and minimize injuries to children, just one of the many features proposed in Rotary’s new park. It will be designed in such a way that it’s user friendly for everybody regardless of age or ability.

The water park will likely be in high demand in the years to come with uncertainty surrounding what will happen to the existing Splashdown Park in Tsawwassen when it closes its doors at the end of this summer.

The best part is the new water park will remain completely free.

“This particular water park is more about self-directed play,” says Irene. “You don’t have to buy a ticket and line up to get in. You can go in with your kids and sit down in the middle of the water if you’d like.”

People can still purchase benches in support of the project and their names will be put on the placards where visitors will come and sit and watch their little ones play.

Irene says the timing of the project is wonderful with the impending construction of the Reach Child and Youth Development Society building, to be located on the site of the existing Kin House. The non-profit society will construct a new centre providing services for children and youth with special needs, and the water park is advantageously positioned for their recreation.

Rotary will be dedicating the park to the farming families of Ladner, honouring their role in the community by creating water spray dispensers that resemble farming equipment.

You can find more information about the new splash park at the Rotary Club of Ladner‘s website portal.

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