Plans to construct a new waterpark, “splashpad” and washrooms at Hawthorne Rotary Park are moving forward.
On Sept. 16, Surrey council awarded the contract to Fricia Construction Inc. for approximately $2.26 million, with the expenditure authorization limit set at roughly $2.49 million.
The new washroom building will be just over 1,000 square feet, according to city documenta.
“The building will include fully accessible washrooms, an accessible family washroom with adult change table, and storage areas,” the report notes. “The adjacent waterpark will include an array of nature-themed spray features as well as a stream and splash zone.”
The new amenities were promised as part of the city’s “105 Avenue Connector” project that involved the hotly opposed removal of hundreds of trees in the park to make way for a new road that’s now complete.
The city’s controversial project proceeded despite 11,000 Surrey residents formally voicing their disapproval of the plan and a failed attempt in court to halt construction.
Tensions came to a boiling point as the city embarked on the tree felling in early 2018, with protesters entering the park and even blocking excavators, causing the city to temporarily halt its work.
Surrey Councillor Steven Pettigrew led the charge opposing the road, prior to running successfully for council in the 2018 civic election.
While the city said it planned to take down about 200 trees, opponents claimed it was more like 2,000.
The city’s justification for the connector road was to move utilities off 104th Avenue in preparation for light rail, that it’s been in the city’s Official Community Plan since 1986, and to create an east-west connector to Whalley Boulevard to 150th Street to ease traffic and reduce congestion.
The city also says it’s added five net acres to Hawthorne Park, despite the removal of trees and the construction of a road.
“It’s for riparian area protection, to help us expand the parking lot on the east side, relocated from the centre of the park to the road edge which is a much better design for the park,” Neal Aven, Surrey’s Parks Manager, told the Now-Leader in 2018.
Aven said at the time that part of the five-acre acquisition included parkland on the west side that allows the city to connect Hawthorne Park (identified as a hub in the city’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy) to the west to a north-south running habitat and wildlife corridor also outlined in the strategy.
Funding for the waterpark and washroom projects is available through the city’s 2019 Parks Capital Budget.