An artist rendering of the splash park that is being constructed in Esquimalt.

Construction begins on splash park in Esquimalt

This week marks an important milestone for the long-awaited project as shovels finally hit the ground for a splash park in Esquimalt.

It’ll still be at least five months before a splash park is constructed in Esquimalt, but this week marks an important milestone for the long-awaited project as shovels finally hit the ground.

Construction crews have started building the $1.8-million “adventure park” on about an acre of land on Fraser Street next to the Esquimalt Recreation Centre. The plan includes two play structures — one for ages two to five, and another for five to 16 year olds.

In between the playgrounds will be a splash pad/water park complete with a 35 gallon bucket that dumps water on those playing below. A washroom/change room facility, picnic area and shaded zone will also be on the site. Landscaping of the park will include 27 trees, a rainwater garden and shrubs.

After conversing with a number of playground suppliers, the township received designs for six concepts that the public voted on earlier this year.

Around 1,100 people filled out the survey for their favourite design and the contract for the playground was awarded to Suttle Recreation.

“It really helps when you have the public choosing the equipment since they are the ones that will be using it,” said Rick Daykin, manager of parks and facilities for Esquimalt.

“Everybody is excited about the opportunity to use the playground. It’ll be a happening place once it’s up and running.”

Daykin said there has always been an interest in a water park or more play spaces for children in the community, but it wasn’t until May 2015 that officials sat down and started gathering concepts on what the park could look like.

After a year of planning, Daykin is also excited to see the project take shape.

“It’s always fun designing a park and getting involved in the planning and working with the public and now we’re moving forward on construction,” he said. “It’s nice that it’s starting to come together.”