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Fun spills out at Picton splash pad opening

Sunshine and squeals of delight filled the air at the official opening of Picton’s new splash pad at Picton Fairgrounds on Saturday.

“I love this,” said Ella Kraemer, 8, of Picton. “I’m coming back this afternoon with my friend.”

Following her first run-through, she proclaimed the water guns were the most fun, but also liked spinning the sailboat wheel and was pleased to report the whole splash pad was “great”.

Dad Tim Kraemer was pleased to see the result of a community coming together on a project.

“It’s a true testament to what happens when so many service organizations, the firefighters association and so many others put money back into the community. It shows that if you believe in something, you can make it happen.

Nobody knows that better than Susan Quaiff, the driving force for the project since she first pitched it some 15 years ago, then remounted the effort in 2014 with extensive community support.

“This is exactly what I wanted to see today,” said Quaiff after observing a few dozen children who had splashed about before the official opening. “I think the reason we chose a Picton location is because it’s difficult for children who live in Picton to get to the beaches or go to a water source to swim. There’ll be more to come in the County, I can feel it,” she laughed. “We have so many people to thank.”

Quaiff officially opened the park with committee co-chair Phil St. Jean, by thanking individuals, clubs, organizations and businesses who raised more than $250,000 to build it, and help with ongoing operating costs expected to be under $35,000 each year.

“The community has made this happen,” said St. Jean. “There will be a donor recognition sign being placed here. Fundraising continues – paving stones and raindrops – to help with ongoing costs.”

Michael Hymus was the special guest at the ribbon cutting, having contributed $100,000 to the project and committing another $10,000 annually toward operating costs for the next 10 years.

“It’s amazing how Susan and the committee’s hard work came together today – after years of chasing and pursing a dream, it’s finally a reality,” said Hymus. “It’s awesome to be part of it. It will bring a lot of happiness to the children of the County and is such a great service for the community. It’s for everybody, and it’s free. Where do you see that today?”

The splash pad is open from 9 a.m. to sundown, seven days a week.

Many of the children playing on the splash pad participated in the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

Scott Wentworth, committee member and designer of the nautical themed 600-square-foot pad, knew exactly which button to push to surprise douse Mayor Robert Quaiff with a downpour of water.


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