If you spot young people walking around with black armbands this week, we have a pretty good idea what they’re protesting.
The city announced Tuesday that the outdoor waterslides at Kinsmen Water Park are likely closed for the summer -- and perhaps forever -- as they seek partners to find a way to repair the aging facility.
Built in 1986, the waterslides have been worn down to the point where splinters of fiberglass might begin cutting those using the slides.
The rebuild comes in at a hefty price tag of $260,000.
The city did hold out some hope for the facility, saying that if service groups or someone else paid $200,000, the city would kick in the final $60,000.
For newcomers to the city, the waterslides, along with facilities like the skateboard park and numerous rinks, ball diamonds and soccer pitches, suggested that Prince Albert likes to find things to do for its youngsters.
And that’s a terrific message to send.
But at the same time, it’s a message that has to be sent at the right price.
It’s always popular to build and open things; it’s tougher to make hard decisions on existing facilities that are starting to look a little long in the tooth.
In this care, if splinters of fiberglass are a real concern, the city made the right decision for safety reasons as well.
At the press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Greg Dionne said made it clear that the slides wouldn’t be reopening without some help.
“The challenge is that we are at the point now, 28 years later, where they need a complete rebuild if they are going to stay in operation,” Dionne said. “I’d like to think there is an organization out there that values the waterslides and has the means to fund the rebuild.”
A cynic might suggest that the Margo Fournier Centre will remain open and the waterslides will be closed because children don’t go to council meetings or vote.
And they might be right.
It’s important to note that the Kinsmen Water Park’s other facilities, including the outdoor pool, will remain open this season. Since Dionne estimates that about 60 per cent of the approximately 35,000 people who attended the park last year were there to use the water slides, there will be an accompanying drop in staff no doubt as costs are slashed.
Some city teens will have to look elsewhere for that all-important summer job, and we wish them luck in their search.
For this city’s young people, the waterslides will sit in the southwest corner of Kinsmen Park as a giant reminder of better times.
While it’s sad to see the waterslides go, city council has made the right decision.
Prince Albert Daily Herald