Concept art showing the potential for the Chilko Street water park.

Concept art showing the potential for the Chilko Street water park.

Plans in the books for possible upgrades to Kitimat wading pools

The District of Kitimat is anticipating some major upgrades to the town's wading pools.

As soon as 2015 there may be some significant retrofits to the Heron Street wading pool, followed by upgrades to the Chilko Street pool in 2016.

That comes as councillors voted to refer such work to those budgets at their March 10 Committee of the Whole.

The recommendation came from staff following a presentation from the Leisure Services Department about the existing parks.

It’s proposed that the Heron Street park will be modified to make the pool more accessible to people with mobility issues. As well concept art showed a proposed raised ‘river’ in the middle, where toddler aged children can play in shallower water.

However the most dramatic change would be to Heron Street’s water park, which is being eyed to be converted into a spray park.

The options for the park came after town staff looked to public feedback last year on how people visioned the parks’ future.

Deputy Leisure Services Director Shaun O’Neill said accessibility and interactive water features were among the priorities given.

The works to the park won’t be insignificant in terms of cost. The Heron Park is estimated to cost $177,000 if done in 2015.

The Chilko Park upgrade will be more, at $397,000 estimated for 2016.

The Chilko Park, however, won’t need an attendant if the work proceeds, meaning the water service can be turned on and off each day letting the public use it at their convenience.

That would be beneficial since O’Neill said it’s hard to attract people to want to work as a wading pool attendant in the summer given the variable hours.

The pools, currently, undergo annual upkeep including patching the concrete foundations. If the town were to opt to simply rebuild both parks to current specifications the administration estimates that it would cost $219,000 in 2015 figures for both of them.

As far as use goes, the town just came out of a well-used year for the parks. In 2013 the parks opened at the tail end of June and ran on sunny days, Tuesdays to Sundays, until August 31. The pool was open 26 days out of the potential 55 in that time frame.

In 2012, days of use were low with it only open nine days out of 21 available.

The cost of operating the wading pools was just shy of $10,000 in 2013.

The pools were reopened in 2012 after two years closed following the Eurocan Pulp and Paper Mill closure.