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Nelson council approves spray park in Rosemont

Art Gibbon Park in Rosemont will get a new spray park after Nelson city council agreed to start construction of the project next year, in a partnership between the city and Nelson Rotary Daybreak. 

Council agreed to cover annual operating costs for the project of $64,000 after Rotary fundraised $190,000, which is only $5,000 short of the money needed to build the facility.

Director of engineering Colin Innes presented his recommended design for the spray park to council which he says makes the most sense for the use the park will get. 

“The recommendation I am putting forward is designing a flow-through park,” says Innes. “A lot of this is based on the risk of bacteriological pathogens that can be in the water, as well as the amount of staff time and costs it takes to operate a park this small.”

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According to a staff report the park design would use approximately 9,125 cubic meters of water, however, the design has the potential to use a lot more water and could be a risk in the event of a drought.

Councillor Jesse Woodward says he is skeptical about the increase in water use that would be associated with the proposed design.

“We’ve spent millions over the last five to eight years reducing water use in Nelson,” Woodward says. “I feel a lot of concern because water is such a precious item.

“We are telling our citizens to conserve water, so I would like to see other options.”

Innes addressed Woodward’s concern by saying the volume of water would actually be quite small, and could be turned off in the event conservation measures were put in by the city.

“A lot of the new equipment has a push button activation,” Innes says. “This can be activated by users, so it is not running continuously.”

Councillor Kate Tait says she supports the idea because of the relatively small price tag associated with operating the park and because it has the potential to increase commerce in the city.

“If we want to attract businesses into the community, if we want people to live here, and if we want walkable neighborhoods you have to invest in those neighborhoods.

“Whenever we say yes to this, we are saying yes to what the future of Nelson looks like.”

Council voted to fund the flow-though system and allow construction starting in 2024, but Woodward opposed the motion. 

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