by Colin Smith
Town Administration says it is working with the Morinville Rotary Club to resolve concerns about Rotary Park.
The matter came before Council at its July 13 meeting in connection with a letter from Rotary representative Garry Hodgins.
The letter states the club’s opposition to the potential removal of the washroom facility at the park, which was built six years ago at a cost of $80,000.
The washroom has been closed for the past year and a half due to COVID restrictions and during that time has suffered from extensive vandalism, according to Town staff members.
“We do not feel that succumbing to vandalism is appropriate,” Hodgins writes. “In the club’s opinion maintenance and cleaning challenges are not reason enough to give up on $80,000 of community investment.”
Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Labonne said the problem is that the washrooms are not designed to the current requirements for these kinds of outdoor facilities. For example, they have easily broken porcelain toilets, rather than the stainless steel now generally used.
Labonne said the poor condition of the facility results in safety and liability issues for the Town.
“The parks crew check the outdoor washrooms, perhaps every second day,” said Iain Bushell, General Manager of Community and Infrastructure Services “They have been broken into, and we fix them – a lot.”
There are now portable toilets on the site and it is a struggle to maintain their cleanliness, Bushell added.
In the letter, Hodgins also expresses concerns about a lack of recognition for the club’s involvement in the creation of the spray park in 2006 and the pavilion in 2011, in which combined investment approached $275,000.
“The one item that is unfortunate but important to our club is that all Town publicity referring to the Rotary Spray Park and Rotary Pavilion has omitted any reference to Rotary,” he writes. “This means that not only is there no public acknowledgment of Rotary, but it also misses an opportunity to encourage folks to support Rotary projects.”
Labonne said there have been meetings with Rotary members in an attempt to clear up the concerns, complicated by the fact that there is no documentation on arrangements with the club about the spray park and other facilities there.
“There are some expectations they have of the Town,” he said. “There is some work we have to do organizationally.”
Council has budgeted $564,200 for the replacement of the splash park, with work on the project to begin later this summer. Bushell said the park is to remain open until just before the work starts.