With almost half a million added to municipal coffers from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), Bonfield is building a splash pad and improving some docks—all part of their waterfront development plan.
The plan has helped guide the municipality for the past five years as they work to improve the park areas near the waterfront. This is not the first grant they have received for improvement projects, but “this is one of the bigger ticket ones,” explained Bonfield mayor Randy McLaren.
The NOHFC grant is for $495,000, and the municipality must contribute 10 per cent to the pot as part of the funding deal.
Although the exact location for the splash pad is to be determined, it will be in Kaibuskong Park, near the township office. McLaren said he expects work to begin this summer.
See: Bonfield’s council commits to waterfront development plan
The funding will pay for the splash pad’s design as well, which will get underway this winter or early spring. “A splash pad is always more complex than people realize,” Mayor McLaren added, which is why the design work will be put out for tender.
A well must be dug, a filtration system will be installed, and the complete design “is more complex than just spraying water on people,” he joked.
Once done, it will be a welcome addition to the community, he said, falling in line with the skate park, outdoor rink, tennis court “and all of the things we’re building around there” to help revitalize the waterfront parks.
The splash pad will also “resolve a problem” faced by many water enthusiasts, as during a scorching summer “that river has low flow,” McLaren said, “and usually our beach gets closed because of high bacteria counts.”
“So, you might not be able to swim in the natural river,” during those times “but you can go to the splash pad. Safer for the kids, too.”
There are also plans to put “a better dock in there,” McLaren said of the park. “All part of the master plan.”
“We’re cognisant of the fact that that’s not the only waterfront we have,” McLaren said, noting the waterfront master plan is “quite comprehensive.”
For instance, at the eastern end of the township there is a park that could use “some improvement” and the wharf at Blanchard’s Landing on Lake Talon “needs some work” as well.
“And while we can’t focus on just a singular area, this particular grant was for that spot.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.