McBurney Park splash pad shut down just days after grand opening

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McBurney Park splash pad shut down just days after grand opening
The splash pad was forced to close due to a plumbing failure, just three days after it opened to the public – Jun 1, 2023

With summer weather upon us, children are out cooling off on splash pads across Kingston.

But the brand-new splash pad at McBurney Park sits empty.

On Sunday, just three days after it was opened to the public for the first time, the splash pad had to be shut down for repairs.

“One of the fittings broke — a larger, two-inch waterline with a lot of water weight, water pressure and a lot of volume,” says Neal Umsworth, manager of parks and shoreline at the City of Kingston.

“So we had to shut it down. Unfortunately, there was no way for us to isolate a section of the splash pad.”

The entire project cost the city about $680,000.

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The splash pad began construction in 2019 and just opened last week before breaking down.

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The timeline of the project, along with the breakdown, has some residents frustrated.

“The project’s been the better part of four years right now,” says Matt Campbell, who lives a block away from McBurney Park.

“Understandably, there were some delays early on because of the pandemic, but communication has not been very clear.”

COVID-19-related supply issues did play a factor in the lengthy construction period, but the city says it wasn’t the main factor.

Nicknamed ‘Skeleton Park,’ McBurney Park is built on an old cemetery, which created some red tape to cut through for this project.

“The two major constraints, for the process of both designing and building, are the archaeology on site,” says Umsworth.

“Obviously, we don’t want to disturb the archaeology on site, because that’s where people are buried, and the regulations don’t allow us to do that either way.”

So after four years of construction, being shut down after just a few days of being open rubs salt in the wound.

Kids are playing on the new playground right next to the splash pad, but they will have to go elsewhere to cool down.

“The immediate reaction was, ‘Oh no, this immediately opened,'” says Campbell.

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“It’s not the city’s fault we’re going into the first week of major heat in the summer. Splash pads are fun, but they’re also practical, to keep people cool.”

Hopefully, the kids won’t have to wait long, as the city says it hopes to have the splash pad open by this weekend.

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