MELKSHAM Town Council has approved the final design for the King George V park splash pad, agreeing to install a system that recycles water.
Selection of a splashpad with a re-circulating system – which re-uses water and treats water to make it safe – will cost the council £236,000 in its first year for installation and maintenance, with an on-going cost of £19,302 per year.
The other option given to councillors was a splashpad with a grey tank water system, which uses water once, before flushing the water out into a drainage system. This would have cost £159,675 in its first year for installation and maintenance, with an on-going cost of £33,672 per year.
Councillors made the decision to choose the re-circulating system at an extraordinary town council meeting this week. Mayor, cllr Adrienne Westbrook said, “There is a cost implication for being eco-friendly – it’s never the cheapest option.”
Deputy mayor, cllr Jon Hubbard added, “When we look at the cost of this, we shouldn’t look at how much are we going to pay tomorrow, but look at it as how much are we paying over a 10, 15, or 20 year period, because this is a capital purchase that we are putting into the organisation.
“The re-circulating system will in time pay for itself – it will pay for itself in its sixth year. So by the end of year 10, we will have saved by going down the re-circulating route somewhere in the region of £40,000. We will continue to save around £15,000 a year in comparison to the grey tank system.”
Cllr Hayley Spencer-Illman said, “I believe that the splashpad in time will deliver less impact on the ozone and to global warming compared to the original paddling pool, which flushed water down the drains every day.
“We are discussing a more eco-friendly option for the future. This comes at a cost, but we have a duty to our residents and future residents to make sure that we are caring for the community that we are in.”
Councillors also decided at the meeting to adopt recommendations that concrete surfacing be used for the splashpad rather than a multi-coloured wet-pour surface, which would have cost an additional cost of £10,560.
At the meeting, opponents to the splashpad plans continued to make their voice heard.
Before the meeting began, local resident Ian Cardy called into question the conduct of the council. He said, “Why has no report about the splashpad business plan been published – what it looks like is that the council does not want details of the cost, environmental damage and maintenance costs known to the public before they consider the splashpad – this is undemocratic.”
Considering the council’s plans for the installation of the splashpad water system, Ian Cardy said, “Using recycled water means you have to chlorinate it and keep the water PH at 7.2 to 8, you have to add hydrochloric acid, and monitor it three to four times a day to make sure the water quality is satisfactory. All children in nappies will have to wear aqua nappies. It will have to be constantly monitored. The splashpad will add to global warming. Do you really want to be a council that goes back to your families and says, “What did we do? We built a splashpad that contributed to global warming?””
Later Ian Cardy added, “The council’s proposed allocation of £500,000 for the King George V playing field refurbishment is taking all of their reserves, including that previously allocated for the Assembly Hall improvements. So now we are to have a 9% rise in the precept to build up reserves again for the improvements to the Assembly Hall.”