Council Commits More Money For West Side Splash Pad

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2018 22:06 PM

Saint John council committing another $135,000 for the proposed west side splash pad — on top of $250,000 already set aside.

The splash pad has been faced with many hurdles, including the original tenders coming in $235,000 over budget.

The city's Tim O'Reilly told Common Council tonight they went back to the drawing board and found $200,000 in savings, in part by changing the design from a treated water system to a flow through system.

But they also lost $100,000 in federal funding from ACOA since the equipment won't be delivered by the end of March, leaving a funding gap of $135,000.

O'Reilly says they could also lose $200,000 from the province if construction isn't done by the end of next March.

Coun. Blake Armstrong, who represents the west side, says the project still needs to go ahead, despite the extra costs.

"We already have two splash pads and I think the west side deserves a splash pad," says Armstrong. "It'll be the only thing in decades, in decades folks, on the west side. The last thing built on the west side was a rink. Anybody know what year that was? Decades ago."

O'Reilly says the community has already raised $120,000 and any extra funding that's found can be used to offset the city's commitment.

Coun. David Merrithew has been against the project from the start and voted 'no' to the extra money.

"We set the budget already, alright, and that's the way it should be," he says. "We just can't go to the bank every time we think we want something else and haven't put it in our budget in the first place."

Several factors led to the project being over budget, according to O'Reilly, including tight timelines to try and achieve the required ACOA timeline condition.

Coun. Gary Sullivan says he supports the project but has some concerns about the extra money.

"This isn't $135,000 that we happen to have that we've found savings in somewhere," says Sullivan. "I would say if we did have extra money, what other things on the 'not approved' list should we be considering."

The project will still need to go back out for tender.