(District of Saanich)

Big changes are planned for a popular park in Saanich.

Sprawled over two hectares, Rutledge Park on Cloverdale Avenue already has walking trails, tennis courts and a playground. But come next year, its playground will be upgraded, and a new splash pad and changeroom will be installed.

That’s according to the District of Saanich, which announced the upgrades Tuesday, saying it’s all thanks to joint federal, provincial and municipal funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

The district says existing playground equipment will be replaced with a more modern design, as a new seasonal splash pad features inclusive elements for children of all abilities.

Freshly paved pathways and new furniture like benches, chairs and picnic tables, plus a drinking fountain/water bottle filling station will also be added to the park, states a press release. 

“These park improvements have long been supported and much desired by our community, and I’m delighted to see the project come to fruition with partnership funding,” said Mayor Fred Haynes.

“The upgrades and new components will rejuvenate this well-used asset in Saanich’s core and offer accessible recreation opportunities for children and youth.”

The district explains that the original concept plan for Rutledge Park in 1998, which included a splash pad for children, was deferred due to budget shortfalls.

But in 2015, the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association requested Saanich Parks investigate the possibility of providing a splash pad at the park. The district recalls “strong support” for the project during public engagement.

Coming in at a cost of around 1.235 million, the District of Saanich adds that park construction should start early next year, with an expected opening in fall 2023.

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