Water park opens at Earl Bales

But minor flooding leads to area's temporary closure

Earl Bales Park’s new accessible sensory garden and water park have arrived with a splash.

Unfortunately, that’s partly due to foot-deep pools of water accumulating around the play area, which forced the water park to close temporarily before the Canada Day weekend.

City staff has been spending evenings working out where the blockage is, but Ward 10 councillor James Pasternak says they haven’t figured it out yet.

Despite the watery setback, Pasternak says the park’s new additions are a great community asset.

“It’s really revitalized Earl Bales in a big way,” he says.

The changes were revealed to the community at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the park on June 12.

“It’s a creative and innovative park,” says Pasternak.

A rainbow of coloured poles, spaced far enough apart to be wheelchair or walker accessible, spray water and emit sounds.

A giant frog sculpture crouches at the side of the water park, seemingly inviting kids to hop on its back.

While a purple moose statue looks on, visitors can play a set of outdoor drums or feel the twigs from the inside of a large bird’s nest.

There is a water trough to be pumped, herbs to be tasted, and flowers to be smelled.

“It’s not just a water park, it’s almost like a teaching-learning centre,” Pasternak says.

The new garden and water park have been named in honour of the late Sarah and Morris Feldman, in recognition of the $1 million contribution made by their daughter Goldie Feldman.

“The Feldman family believed that the community had done great things for them through their years in the ward, and that they were now giving back to the community,” Pasternak says.

Such public-private partnerships between the city and donors are a great way to enhance city resources, he says.

“It’s really a philosophy we should pursue at city hall,” he says.

Meanwhile, the city is looking to tender a $2 million contract to renew the park’s ski equipment and lift, which Pasternak says must be done before next winter.

He says he’s also pursuing a promise he campaigned on — to add a double gym to the park’s community centre — which he hopes could break ground by 2014.

So far, $3 million of the $5 million budget for the project has been raised.

“That’s something that I’m dedicated to working on,” he says.

About this article:

By: Caitlin Orr
Posted: Jul 18 2011 4:37 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto