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Splash Pad proposal moves forward

UPDATE: County councillors approved the splash pad proposal Tuesday at council with a caveat that the committee come back with a plan to cap the operations side to $35,000.

The Splash Pad committee will be raising the entire amount of funding required to install the pad.

The vote was 11 in favour, four opposed. As the mayor’s wife is involved in the project, Mayor Robert Quaiff declared a conflict of interest and left the chamber during the discussion. He did not cast a vote.

“I have always let council, staff and the public know that my wife was involved and have declared a conflict of interest,” said Quaiff. “For those members of the public who perceive that the mayor has a conflict, my office is always open and my phone numbers are available should anyone wish to call to get the facts.”

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Council learns of Splash Pad operating costs

County councillors received cost information to operate and maintain a splash pad design proposed by the Splash Pad Committee in the fall.

Since November 2012, the Splash Pad Committee has been seeking approval from the municipality. In September, 2014, council received a report and presentation from Susan Quaiff, Scott Wentworth, Ryan Aldred and Phil St. Jean and requested an updated staff report.

A report to the Committee of the Whole, received Thursday, noted staff consulted with a number of municipalities in regard to operational processes.

Annual operating estimates range from $59,887 to $72,645. The report’s summary notes initial capital outlay, plus water consumption, future water and sanitary sewer rates are the major factors to consider in the decision.

If council chooses to proceed with the project, steps would be to approve the location; approve the type of system, specify additional requirements it wishes the Splash Pad Committee to consider in design and capital cost development; deem it a “project of community interest” to allow the County to collect donations on behalf of the committee and provide charitable receipts and, set the fundraising goal.

The Splash Pad Committee’s current fundraising goal is $250,000. The Picton fairgrounds, adjacent to the skateboard park, is the favoured location.

Other municipalities consulted noted a shaded shelter area should be added to the design, indicating a lack of shade for onlookers was a major source of complaint.

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  1. Susan says:

    I thought water & wastewater was a priority review for this new Council. Guess they bypassed that and just supported using more of these services which will mean a tax for all.

  2. Young family of four says:

    What a horrible choice they’ve made here, I’m also interested in knowing who stood on which side of this issue.

  3. Ryan says:

    Can someone please post which Council members voted for or against? Ratepayers should know which ones are being responsible when it comes to spending our money.

  4. Marnie says:

    Who needed to go Susan? Council was chomping at the bit to green light this project.It would be a huge surprise if they actually listened to ratepayers and did the sensible thing.

  5. Susan says:

    So is it Countylive or County Slow, how did Council vote on this today? Do we need to wait for next week’s newspaper? Perhaps Countylive could actually provide “live” updates from Council which should be streamed live anyways. Do you not think in this day and age? And how each Council member votesd.voted

  6. Susan says:

    I disagree with Chell. Picton water rates could increase due to the added stress on infrastructure that once again the broader tax base is not paying for. This has not been taken into account in the cost analysis presented. Don’t keep pressuring Picton taxpayers systems without coughing up.

  7. Ian says:

    I’m tempted to agree with other posters.

    There was a time when this was a great place to raise children.

    The demographics have changed. The County has become something else now, with different priorities.

  8. Marnie says:

    There are many things we need much more than a splash pad but council cannot summon up the backbone to say no to these ideas. They seem to believe that the taxpayer has bottomless pockets.

  9. Bill says:

    We have all heard that before that the taxpayers won’t take a hit on something like this. Time and time again this has proven inaccurate and many are not going to support such a thing without the facts and promise that NO increase at any point will the taxpayers have to pick up the tab.
    No Mayor Quaiff has not at any point declared a conflict in regards to this issue.

  10. Chell says:

    About the splash pad, there is a team of fund raisers in place & support from groups like Rotary, so I am confused why people think costs will be added to their water bill. It won’t change their rates. As far back as 2000 at the first presentation about the splash pad the mayor said how sad it was that the county has so much water around it but so many of our children never see it for transportation & financial reasons, it is expensive to get into Sandbanks & hard to get there with working.

  11. Emily says:

    I assumed that the Mayor had already declared a conflict.

  12. Debbie says:

    On a final note, I also believe that its in the best interest that Mayor Quaiff remove himself from the vote due to his wife spearheading this campaign. There is NO way he can have the best interest of the taxpayers in mind, one way or the other.

  13. Debbie says:

    Well today will be the vote on this splash park. I encourage all who does NOT want their water/wastewater bill to sky rocket to go out and have your voice heard. I have two children and would love nothing more than to have this but its like I try to teach my children, there is a difference between needing and wanting. Unless council can put it in writing that my bill will not increase I cannot support this at this time. I have to choose now which bill to pay in order to survive. So I encourage council to do the same for its taxpayers. Lets get our house in order first and foremost, then and only then should we even consider such an on-going expense.

  14. Doris Lane says:

    We do not need a slash pad

  15. Gary says:

    If the “Picton Main St. Heritage Conservation District Plan” is approved according to the County website, why is the century old brick home being proposed for demolition to support a new liquor store?

  16. lou says:

    good 6 month reort card. agree there.

    Cao gets huge payout (probably more then a few years of splash pad maintenance).

    dont forget the waste of money over at Mcfarland too.

    Would be nice to spend money on The people. not employees.

    yes lots of families are liking the splash pad idea….and some people dont agree
    at least some money is spent on citizens rather then CAo’s etc

    What other things would “the people” Like to see or have around town?
    what improvements can the ask council about

    as said ALOT of things, are actually private invenstors.
    Private people bring money into the town.

    is there another subject yet? so we can argue about something else
    lol

  17. Chuck says:

    Council 6 Month Report Card

    – did away with prayer
    – increased taxes across the board
    – increased water & wastewater charges
    – Fired the CAO and paid out a huge sum in severance
    – entertaining a splash pad
    – got the downtown historic district approved while the house next to the new liquor store drops to the ground
    – approved their own raise in pay
    – approved a new Tim’s in Welly next to someone’s home
    – chatting about Council size yet again

  18. Marnie says:

    Unfortunately some of them will say anything to get elected. After that they revert to type.

  19. Wolf Braun says:

    Mark asks”How do we make Council smarter?”

    Not sure we can. Unless we administer IQ tests. Even then we have no guarantees.

    We can ask better questions of candidates during an election cycle. We can ask “what PRINCIPLES” will you follow when mak8ng tough decisions on our behalf”?

    I did just that last fall. By email. Of the potential Mayors. I received replies from each one. Only one made sense. It was from the candidate who came last. The others wrote a bunch of nonsense! So now you know how I voted ! 🙂

  20. Susan says:

    Well Lou perhaps you can lead the way. While you’re at it maybe take on the Water crisis in Picton since you think splish splash having a bath at the pad is great!

  21. lou says:

    all sorts of issues this town eh.

    just saying families need things to enjoy. too.

    Jobs can come from people creating businesses,
    you do need to attract them here to start the business.
    whatever that may be
    maybe its entertainment , sports, schools,

    what jobs do people expect Shire hall to create?

    if anyone feels PIcton needs s
    something. Get up, start a group. and MAKE Postive changes.

    i do see lots of jobs recently opened. wineries etc
    but they have a hard time finding people

    anyhow. Next topic!!!……that we can sit and complain about

  22. Mark says:

    Learning to swim is a milestone in a kids life and a worthy life saving skill. Playing in a splash pad is just that, play. It looks good to the affluent however. It’s a nice extra if you can afford it but we can’t. Jobs draw people not splash fun. I agree that the retired will leave to as the costs to live in Picton are just too out of whack. I don’t know what Council is doing to better the situation for residents. Is there a plan?

  23. Marnie says:

    It’s always the same old story – they’ll fund raise or all they need a bridging grant. Then things don’t work out the way they promised and the taxpayer is on the hook. If the cost of living in the county continues to rise there will be an exodus of the retired folks. There are beaches all around us. We do not need a splash pad. Splash pads will not keep people here. Who’s going to stay here for something that can be enjoyed only for two short months of the year?

  24. Snowman says:

    Jobs.Jobs will keep young families here.Not skate parks or
    splash pads or better roads. At $700 a day for every day it operates, that canteen will have to sell a lot of soda pop to put a dent in that amount of $$$.

  25. lou says:

    as i understand They are going to fundraise. for over 250.000 on their own . NOT governement.
    and land is free

    they will also be raising money with canteens etc etc

    Considering the golden handshakes they gave those employees hundreds of thousands.

    gotta try and keep young people and families living here. cant sustain a whole town with retired people.

  26. Lori Cairns says:

    The cost of living continues to rise, incomes are stagnant, dropping or disappearing, water/sewer rates are off the charts and this council wants to put in a splash pad with treated water sprayed on concrete????? In a county surrounded by water with beaches others drive 6 hours to get to???

    Here’s an idea: How about having a business/corporate sponsored swim at the RecPlex like Whattams sponsors a movie at the Regent? That way kids get a regularly scheduled free swim and taxpayers don’t get gouged.

    Note to council: WE HAVE NO MONEY LEFT TO GIVE YOU. Remember who built this community and who should be able to stay here!!!!!

  27. Jack Dall says:

    The numbers speak for themselves. No splash pad . Let’s get on with more important issues that need to be dealt with.

  28. Debbie says:

    I have to question Mr. Quaiff’s logic on this (at this time). It was stated that the water/wastewater dept. needs a major overhaul so I would highly recommend that that be done BEFORE we dive into something like this. People can’t afford water rates now and have to decide if they can even pay their bill so this to me and so many others seems a bit out there. Why are we not looking at how to save money, not spend it? When I see that that dept. is being looked at with a fine tooth comb then and only then will I ever support this splash pad. Mr. Quaiff’s priorities do not seem to be lined up with the real important issues that this county is facing. We CAN’T afford to live here Mr. Quaiff so do something like investigate the overspending first and foremost, you’ll get more support that way.

  29. Mark says:

    Picton taxpayers will end up paying for unaccounted costs on their system and infrastructure. Quit bringing County wide services into this town on the backs of the town folk. We are not all in agreement with being the rural and tourist playground. You can make a smaller Council (perhaps after 17 years) but how do we make a smarter one. Way too many other pressing issues to have this on our plate.

  30. Emily says:

    When you can barely meet mortgage or rent payments you don’t buy a hot tub or pool for your backyard! Why on earth is this even under consideration? Was this identified as one of Council’s goals? Was it raised at election time? No wonder Merlin stood his ground, told them what they didn’t want to here, grabbed his payout and said good luck with that!

  31. Chuck says:

    World has gone mad in some ways! We have far too many unresolved issues to even have this project on the radar. What happened to teaching kids how to swim for lifelong benefits instead of a spraying water playground. We cannot afford it. How and why is this in front of Council with deteriorating roads, lack of affordable housing, and water wastewater debts that strangle any growth? Where is the brain trust on this?

  32. Snowman says:

    It will cost $750-$800 per day of taxpayers $$$ just for operation. $250K +++ to build on County owned land.Has the world gone mad?

  33. Marnie says:

    Just what we need. This folly would benefit primarily Picton children as youngsters living out of town would not be in walking distance of it. If their parents have to drive them to it they may as well drive them to the closest beach. There are a lot better ways to spend the taxpayer’s money.

  34. Susan says:

    A few thoughts on this. Seems like a city type thing rather than a small town thing. I think all kids should learn to swim as opposed to running or whatever in an expensive sprinkler pad. In a perfect world great but this County is buried in debt and we need to learn to live within our means. If this goes through from Mrs. Quaiff as spear header I hope the water costs are totally reviewed. And that would include the impact upon yet another service to all that affects adversely Picton taxpayers infrastructure costs. We can no longer continue to support the broader tax base alone.

  35. Gary says:

    Only the rich could turn on a sprinkler in the backyard for kids! That’s liquid gold in Picton.

  36. Young family of four says:

    I have young children and would not support this use of funds in PEC. (and no, we don’t have a swimming pool)
    The vast majority of families have yards large enough for sprinklers in the county, we are also surrounded by beaches and fresh water. It’s unlikely a kid can’t get cooled off somewhere around here in the summer.
    I’d rather see funds earmarked for expansion or renovation of existing facilities that could offer maybe an indoor wavepool or waterpark that we benefit from all year long rather than two months of the year. When I see what communities with similar taxation get for their kids vs. what we get here I get pretty ticked off, a splash pad is very outdated and very out of touch. Be nice if PEC could step it up a bit and be more innovative for our kids.

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