The Esquimalt Adventure Park has already generated rave reviews from children and parents alike. And according to Rick Daykin, the township’s manager of parks and facilities, it becoming a destination for kids from all over Greater Victoria.
“The other day we had about 400 kids in the park and they came not only from Esquimalt but from Victoria, Saanich, Central Saanich … all over,” he said. The trend is good news in terms of attracting people who may stay to shop, frequent restaurants and otherwise enjoy the community, he added.
Daykin said the attraction of the $1.8-million water park and picnic area is rooted in the level of planning involved in the final design. The municipality invited firms to submit designs over a year ago, then posted the five best submissions at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre and asked for feedback.
“The park is in many ways the outcome of a co-operative public input [process as to] what they wanted to see. In that way, it’s a park the community built,” he said.
One of the notable features is the divide between a toddler play area and the more challenging play structures on the other side of the park. In the centre of the play area is the water park features, which are also separated based on age.
Younger children get spray features with low pressure at an accessible height, while the older kids have water cannons and a 50-gallon bucket that fills and periodically spills out, to the delight of the kids.
The entire 0.6-acre site is professionally landscaped, with 26 shade trees planted and more than 1,500 shrubs and perennials put in to create a green and friendly environment.
The Esquimalt Lions Club donated $50,000 toward the park, as well as $8,000 for the fountain that forms part of the the water feature. Tire Stewardship BC also donated $30,000 in the form of the rubberized play surface, made in part from recycled tires.
“This park is the best project with which I’ve ever been involved,” said Daykin.
“We’ve had to tweak a few things as we watch how the kids play with and on the equipment, but there’s been only very minor problems. It’s a fantastic place and any time you can be involved in building something that makes kids smile and laugh, it’s a good day at work.”
The park is at 527 Fraser St., next to the recreation centre.