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Kids have new playground atop giant new city water reservoir

Author of the article:

Kathleen Saylors

More clean water, more fun. Aria Bialek, 7, is all smiles as she hangs upside down on the new playground equipment at George Park on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021.
More clean water, more fun. Aria Bialek, 7, is all smiles as she hangs upside down on the new playground equipment at George Park on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

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City officials on Friday announced completion of a $22-million project to build a new underground water reservoir and redevelop George Avenue Park.

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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Ward 5 Coun. Ed Sleiman and representatives from Enwin Utilities unveiled the completely redeveloped park and the grass- and trail-covered water reservoir that provide a large new underground storage facility for city drinking water.

“Though this massive project took these lands out of commission for a few years, the substantial gains they paid will last for decades and decades in this community,” Dilkens said. “This project ensures the protection and safe delivery of one of our most valuable natural resources: our water.”

The Windsor Utilities Commission covered about $20 million of the total costs for the reservoir project, which expands the city’s existing potable water storage capacity by 50 per cent. The reservoir holds 35 million litres of water — equivalent to about 14 Olympic swimming pools, or enough water for 60,000 households every day.

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Officials said the development of a second reservoir was a necessary investment in Windsor’s growing population and provides clean water in emergencies, said Garry Rossi, vice-president of water operations for Enwin, which operates the Windsor Utilities Commission.

“Prior to this project, Windsor had only one place to store drinking water, a single cell reservoir with the capacity of 70 megalitres (70 million litres),” Rossi said.

“If anything had happened we would have been gravely challenged to meet the water needs of our community. The George Avenue reservoir provides additional capacity for safe storage of potable water.”

“Ensures protection” of city’s drinking supply. Mayor Drew Dilkens speaks Friday at the official unveiling of the new George Avenue water reservoir and park.
“Ensures protection” of city’s drinking supply. Mayor Drew Dilkens speaks Friday at the official unveiling of the new George Avenue water reservoir and park. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

The city transferred the park at Wyandotte Street East and George Avenue to the Windsor Utilities Commission in 2016 for the development of a reservoir, with the provision the land be revitalized after the reservoir was complete. Work on the park proposal started last spring and was recently completed, costing about $1.2 million. Enwin contributed $345,000 to the project.

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“Residents have been looking forward to this day, and now that we see the end result, I can tell you this project was worth the wait,” Sleiman said of the neighbourhood park.

Tiffany Wannick, mom of two-year-old Ocean, was enjoying the park with her son Friday morning. It was the first time they’d visited the park since it reopened.

“There’s lots of (play equipment) for different ages and it’s really nice with lots of shade and trees,” Wannick said.

The park has a nature-themed play structure, new walking paths, shelters with picnic tables and a fenced-in basketball court. Almost 200 new trees were planted in the park.

ksaylors@postmedia.com

twitter.com/KathleenSaylors

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