A huge community donation will lead to the development of a new Splash Park in Dryden this summer.

Northwestern Ontario’s Beyak Automotive Group has donated $230,000 to develop a 2,800 square-foot Splash Park at the Rotary Park Complex on Wice Road, near New Prospect School. The City of Dryden is planning to contribute about $17,000 to cover the remaining costs.

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Site prep and construction work are set to begin in mid-July, with the park aiming to be open to the public by mid-August. Annually, the park would be open from May 21 to September 30 and would be maintained by city staff.

“In an effort to add to Dryden’s existing recreation infrastructure, for the direct benefit of kids in our community, I have chosen to develop this Splash Park, with the full cooperation of city staff and council," said Beyak Group President and former Dryden councillor, Nick Beyak.

"I believe the aggressive timeline is achievable so the park can be enjoyed by children this summer. For me, something that would benefit children was a huge thing,” adds Beyak.

“I think it’s been a very difficult couple of years for a lot of kids. Even now, if you don’t have the means to travel or to go anywhere, it’s been tough. It’s been hard on people. This was something I thought would help bring happiness to kids.”

The Splash Park aims to be an accessible and inclusive play space, which will add to the existing Rotary Park amenities to enhance physical, social and sensory development in youth of all ages. It will include 18 sprayers in a roughly 2,000 square-foot spray area.

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Councillors with the City of Dryden approved the $230,000 donation and $17,000 funding contribution during a Committee of the Whole meeting on April 11, with Mr. Beyak in attendance. 

“On behalf of Dryden City Council, staff and citizens of Dryden, I wish to sincerely thank the Beyak Automotive Group and President Nick Beyak for their vision and generous donation to make the Splash Park a reality for the residents of Dryden,” said Mayor Greg Wilson.

Manager of Community Services, Steve Belanger’s report to councillors states that the city has received numerous requests for the development of a Splash Park in Dryden, illustrating the community’s interest in the project.

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Other sites considered included Kinsmen Park, Plumridge Park and Cooper Park, but the city says the Rotary Park location would require the least amount of financial investment, as it doesn’t require an upgrade to existing water services and already includes on-site washrooms and change-rooms.

However, his report notes that paved accessible parking spaces and a walking path will be required to meet accessibility standards at the park, and staff are recommending some form of shade structure and seating.

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The city says the new park would represent a 2 per cent increase in current water treatment plant production. City Staff say the park would have little impact on the city’s water treatment plant and distribution system.

Beyak says his group also approached the Municipality of Fort Frances, but noted the ongoing ‘dysfunction’ in their municipal council chambers forced the group to reconsider. He added his previous experience with city staff in Dryden helped him to make the decision.

The Beyak Group adds they’re working with Canadian-based companies Openspace Solutions Inc. and Waterplay by MAKR to facilitate the build with top safety and performance standards.

“This donation would not be possible without the consistent support of our thousands of customers at Dryden GM, and our dedicated employees throughout the organization,” adds Beyak.

The Beyak Automotive Group is made up of Dryden GM, Sunset Country Ford, Fort Frances GM and the Fort Frances Collision Centre, with over 110 employees in northwestern Ontario.