By Haley Grinder
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The Radium Rotary Splash Park held their grand opening last weekend on Saturday, Aug. 7, in Legend’s Field, tucked between the hockey rink and the outdoor fitness gym. The celebration was a culmination of over two and a half years of hard work and dedication, not to mention the many donations needed for funding.

The park is “an amazing addition to the community,” says Dale Shudra, Chair of the Splash Park Committee. “It’s a free place to use, a safe place for families to gather, and a place to create memories through healthy water play.”

The project was tackled by Radium Rotary Club— a group established in 2003 who have completed numerous projects around town, including Rotary Park, the outdoor fitness gym, and Rotary Gardens. Currently, they have only 15 members— a small group to undertake such a large task. 

Shudra says they didn’t let the size of the project deter them. The Rotary Club has a saying: “We’re the little club that can, and we decided, yes, we could.”

In January 2019, the budget to complete the splash park was $150,000, with $20,000 of that coming from the Rotary itself, through countless hours of volunteer work.

Although the park was originally supposed to be completed last summer, the pandemic stagnated its progress, delaying the project until 2021. However, the silver lining was that the Rotary Club had more time to fundraise, ultimately raising $220,000.

Donations were posted on the hockey nets behind the park during the ceremony but will be permanently mounted on plaques soon.

Despite the Rotary Club’s hard work and dedication, the pandemic and “raging forest fires,” unfortunately prohibited the park from obtaining a permit from Interior Health for flowing water on their launch date. However, they remain patient and optimistic. 

“Our permit will wait as these emergencies are addressed,” says Shudra.

Instead, the committee invited guests of the grand opening to BYOW (bring your own water) in a showcase of hope and good spirit. Anyone so inclined was encouraged to “direct some water our way,” as the official ribbon was cut. During the festivities, Radium firefighters unrolled their hoses from the fire hydrant so that children could be soaked to their greatest pleasure.

Shudra says the journey has been rewarding, but he is excited to get back to the basics. “Two weeks ago, once we got this down [and] the sod laid, your attention starts moving away from all that other stuff: committees, raising money, permits, plans, et cetera. And you start thinking about why we’re doing this: hot kids, cold water. Play. Fun. Family. That’s what it’s all about now.”