Westwood Community League used to be home to an ornamental pond, but now houses a brand-new spray deck and fountain, designed for easy access and entertainment.
On June 27, the water features unofficially opened with a small yet upbeat turnout.
“I think it’s been positive for the most part. I don’t know that a lot of people have had a full chance to get out here. Of course, we had the hot, hot weather the week before, which would’ve been perfect to have this open,” said Kim Ellis, president of Westwood Community League.
It’s taken some time for the project to come to fruition.
“In 2011, Alberta Health Services identified the pond as a health hazard. It had to be removed under their order. We were working with the city, back and forth, on what we would want,” said Ellis.
Due to the unfiltered and standing water, the water depth, and lack of lifeguard on duty, the pond fell under the same umbrella as the rest of the city’s wading pools, which closed in 2010. The community league wanted proper filtration to keep the wading pond open, but it was too costly so they had to come up with a different plan.
In 2014, the city presented the public with two design concepts.
“One [design concept] was more what you would see at traditional spray decks, with the dragon’s heads and the buckets dumping, and things like that. And through public consultations, this one won more of the vote to go with this feature,” explained Ellis. It took two years to work out any kinks and in 2017, construction began.
The successful design is a circular concrete pad with water spouts spiralling inwards.
“[Residents] liked that it was not necessarily aged. So, if an adult wanted to go in, they might not feel so ridiculous,” Ellis added with a chuckle.
This design also allows nearby residents to easily access the spray deck and fountain.
“We have our seniors complex on the same property, so we wanted to make sure this space was accessible for everybody.”
The spray deck is barrier-free, so anyone who wishes to play or cool off on a hot day can do so. In fact, the barrier-free philosophy has been applied to as much of the park as possible, including extending the tops of the picnic tables so people can fit wheelchairs under them.
Another benefit of the chosen design is the sight-lines. From the benches you can see everything.
“My kids are older now, but they always wanted to be in two separate spaces. I like the sight-lines. I can keep an eye on one that is playing around in the park and one that maybe wants to be in the water feature,” Ellis said.
An official opening party with planned activities takes place on Sunday, Aug. 5.
“We have a couple of food trucks coming. We are looking at trying to get a DJ. We are looking at having rainy weather plans, which would be face painting, bubbles, sidewalk chalk kind of fun stuff,” Ellis explained and added organizers will also hand out popsicles. The event is free to attend.
WESTWOOD SPRAY DECK & FOUNTAIN
12139 105 St
Spray park open from May to September long weekend.
Sunday, Aug. 5
Noon to 4 pm
Featured Image: The spray deck is barrier-free. | Stephen Strand
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