New splash pad, playground, universal washrooms at Rutledge Park in Saanich

Photo: District of Saanich
Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock is pictured with school students at Rutledge Park on June 24, 2024.

A Saanich park home to a pink elephant was packed on Monday, as people gathered to celebrate the upgraded facilities, including a splash pad.

The changes at Rutledge Park come “just in time for everyone to enjoy this summer,” says Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock, who attended the reopening ceremony and turned on the taps to the new water play area.

Students from Cloverdale Traditional School helped him complete the feat.

Additional upgrades to the park off Cloverdale Avenue include a new playground, which replaces aging, more than 20-year-old equipment, as well as a washroom and change room building with private, universal and accessible spaces.

Tire Stewardship BC lauds the park project, saying the use of pour-in-place rubber surfacing, derived from recycled car tires, “not only ensures safety but also promotes the importance of tire recycling within the province.”

It says more than 1,400 tires were repurposed.

“The playground improvements incorporate accessible elements, multi-coloured rubber safety surfacing and natural elements. The new seasonal splash pad also has inclusive elements for children and youth of all abilities,” says the district.

In addition to a drinking fountain and a water bottle filling station, it says parkgoers will notice new paved pathways and park furniture, such as benches, chairs and picnic tables.

Murdock says he’s “thrilled to unveil the improvements,” adding, “Saanich’s parks are such an important part of our community as they provide people with places to connect with friends and family and to stay healthy and active.”

Million-dollar price tag

Joint federal, provincial, community and municipal funding made the park a reality, according to the district in a news release.

The project cost about $1.3 million, with $329,508 from municipal funding.

The Province of B.C. and the Government of Canada, through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, contributed $905,992, while Tire Stewardship awarded a $30,000 grant, and the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association gave $10,000.

Vancouver-based architecture firm VDZ+A Consulting handled construction.

“The Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association was thrilled to contribute to this significant local project,” says president Susan Haddon, adding the Saanich park and splash pad “are sure to be used for years to come.”

A B.C. minister, meanwhile, is acknowledging the park’s elephant statue.

“Rutley the pink elephant and Rutledge Park have always held a special place in the Saanich community,” said Anne Kang, minister of municipal affairs.

“The new park improvements will help kids grow physically, emotionally, socially and imaginatively. It’s great to see when all orders of government team up to make public places easier to use for everyone.”

Monday’s event included speakers and other dignitaries, who were joined by school students and special guests, the lək̓ʷəŋən Dancers.

READ ALSO: City of Victoria purchases land for future downtown park

Ethan Morneau

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