With bids coming back higher than expected for work on the Hollinger Park splash pads, the project could be deferred until later this year.
According to Timmins Mayor Steve Black, the city put out the RFP for the work on the splash ground and playground areas.
“Those tenders came back, I believe staff is going to come back with a recommendation to defer that work until the fall for the splash pad and go back out for tender due to the cost involved in it being over budget in terms of what was planned,” he said.
“If council accepts that then that portion of the park will very likely stay open until after the Stars and Thunder event, at which point we’re starting the soil remediation and putting in new soil and stuff around the park.”
If the work is deferred, he said they would "leave that portion of the park open for the summer months so the kids can enjoy the playground and splash pad areas and then to close it down and do the splash pad upgrades and the soil work in the fall".
Fencing off a portion of the park, potentially during Stars and Thunder and other peak times when kids use the splash pad, has been a contentious topic.
In February, resident Leena MacDonald spoke to council about the decision, saying that the work is wanted by the community. By fencing the park off during the festival, however, she said was seen as a “tactic to punish the community for not buying tickets.”
The remediation work includes improving the surfaces of the playground and splash pad, removing sand and brick to be compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and importing some fill to help with drainage in low-lying areas.
Work slated to begin after the festival will still go ahead.
“The rest of the park’s going to start as soon as we get cleaned up from Stars and Thunder, so the baseball field work and the northeast side of the park would begin immediately after removing the Stars and Thunder materials and get going on that,” Black explained.
He cautions that the new plan needs to be approved by council.
“It will be up to council if they agree with that proposed change in plan versus the previous direction given and then if so that’s what will happen this summer,” he said.
The verbal report from staff is expected at the May 22 meeting.