Calgary, AB,

Prairie Winds Spray Park re-opens to public bigger, wetter and better

The City of Calgary Parks makes a big splash today with the re-opening of Prairie Winds Spray Park. The completely renovated spray park, along with the wading pool, will be open until September 14, weather dependent, to give Calgarians a chance to check out what all the new features have to offer for Calgarians of all ages.

“The entire spray park was completely redesigned and expanded to bring it up to today’s standards,” says Anne Charlton, Parks director. “Families and kids of all ages are going to have a lot of fun discovering everything the new spray park has to offer.”

The unique design of the spray park is based on a grassland theme, and is the first of its kind in North America. It features water structures that are shaped like different kinds of grasses and flowers, and has different types of insects that shower children with water as they run across the spray pad.

The spray park was at the end of its lifecycle and in need of upgrades and improvements to meet today’s health, safety and accessibility standards.

“The original spray park was built in 1990, the same year Prairie Winds Park opened to the public. So after 25 years of service to Calgarians, it was time to give it a face lift,” Charlton says.

Well over 100,000 people in the immediate area use Prairie Winds Park as their regional park, along with others from across Calgary who drive substantial distances to make use of the spray park and other facilities at Prairie Winds.

“On a beautiful, sunny Saturday, up to over 2000 people, including children and their families, can be seen in the wading pool/spray park area at any given time, cooling off and enjoying the water,” says Ward 5 Councillor Ray Jones. “The City is growing, and in order to meet its growth, we have to invest in our communities - investing in communities is an integral part of what makes a city great and improves quality of life for citizens.”

The lifecycle upgrades and improvements to the spray park were made possible with funding from the Council-created Community Investment Fund (CIF). In 2011, CIF was created to help fund tangible and useful community improvements projects. Through CIF, Council gives back to Calgarians by investing in and supporting new community projects and critical lifecycle upgrades throughout the city.

“Over half of The City’s community facilities are 40 to 50 years old, with many structural components needing repair,” says Councillor Jones. “It’s Council’s job to ensure facilities and park amenities are in good repair, and Calgarians are satisfied with the operations of these facilities.”

The new design also saves on water use and energy. With the new holding tank and treatment system, the water needs to be drained once at the end of the season. In addition, water is only activated after a child turns on the sprays by pushing a button.

“The new spray pad is 10 times larger than the previous one, but it will use the same amount of water as before. The new system has its own dedicated and enclosed water treatment system, with UV disinfection capabilities for added protection,” says Charlton. “The previous spray pad pulled water from the existing wading pool. Now, it’s completely independent from the wading pool and exceeds provincial health and safety standards.”

The spray park at Eau Claire Plaza and Variety Spray Park at South Glenmore Park will also remain open until September 14. Please note that all other City spray parks and wading pools will closed at their regular season end, which is Labour Day weekend at the beginning of September.

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Created by City Council on July 25, 2011, the community investment fund will invest $252 million from 2012 to 2016 into tangible and useful community improvements on things like libraries, recreation centres, swimming pools, arenas, athletic fields, parks, playgrounds and emergency services.

Onward/ City Council has created a long-term sustainable funding pool to address both new and existing community infrastructure needs. | imagineCALGARYvision: By  2036, Calgary repairs facilities, increases the number of amenities and spaces that encourage human interaction, and upgrades personal protective equipment for emergency responders.