Saint John splash pad draws criticism, but not from those who use it
Published Friday, July 5, 2019 10:01PM ADT
With a snip of the scissors, the new splash pad on Saint John's lower west side is open.
It's a project community members say has been about a decade in the making, and has faced a fair share of hurdles along the way.
“You know, it's an expensive venture, and folks are short on funds, so they tried to get one for a few years and it didn't happen,” said organizing committee member Krista Turnbull.
But as of just a couple of weeks ago, the splash pad next to the Carleton Community Centre was up and running for the kids of the lower west side -- one of what the city of Saint John calls its priority neighbourhoods.
Although Friday was a day of celebration, the splash pad has been the subject of controversy because of the cost to build the project and the cost to maintain it.
“We took a quite a bit of flack for it because you know, the city, we don't have scads of money that we can just buy and do any project we want,” said Deputy Mayor Shirley McAlary. “We have to be careful spending our money.”
According to numbers provided by the city, the total cost of the splash pad is $582,000.
The city put in $255,000, $200,000 came from the province, and the rest came from companies and organizations.
A report by city staff in 2017 says that over its lifetime, the splash pad is expected to cost the city around $65,000 annually.
Proponents say it's money well spent.
“This area over here, if we can cut down on crime and things like that and these kids can grow up to be good productive children, (it’s) definitely the best thing to do,” said Saint John Harbour MLA Gerry Lowe.
It’s a project that, for better or for worse, has certainly made a splash.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.