New Westminster spray parks set to open this weekend

Spray parks are as much a part of summer as sunshine or ice cream cones, and this coming long weekend is the official start date for the popular water features in local parks.

Those who played in the city’s wading pools and spray parks during their childhood can bring their kids back to the places they remember.

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One particular aspect that New Westminster Parks and Recreation has tried to preserve is the forested areas in local parks, which provide shade and a natural playground, according to Sloane Elphinstone, program coordinator for sports and outdoor recreation.

“The forest is maintained in a lot of our parks,” she said. “We encourage people to experience that again.”

The most popular spray park in the city is at Queen’s Park, which has many other attractive features as well, Elphinstone pointed out, calling the park “the jewel of the city.”

One of the newest features is the universal bathroom, which has individual stalls and a shared handwashing station. It is expected to open on May 18, the same day the spray park starts up.

There is also a new skate park, the park’s greenhouses, the rose gardens, the concession, and more.

But other spray parks in the city are great spots for kids as well, particularly the neighbourhood parks, Elphinstone said.

Whereas Queen’s Park is a destination park for people who come from all over the Lower Mainland, Hume and Moody parks are backyard parks for the people who live in the area, she explained.

“People go there on a daily basis,” Elphinstone said.

There are also spray parks in Ryall and Sapperton parks.

The city’s last wading pool is in Grimstone Park. All of the city’s other wading pools have been replaced by spray parks over the years, as wading pools must be staffed for the safety of the children playing there, unlike spray parks.

The water for the parks is fresh water, which is standard across the board, according to Elphinstone. To conserve water, the spray parks have manual activation buttons, with water spraying in three-minute intervals.

“If there’s nobody in the park, no water is being used,” Elphinstone said.

If new spray parks are built, new ways to capture and repurpose the water will be considered, she added, but there are no new spray parks planned at this time.

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