Von Rywaczuk and Jamie Hughes-Rywaczuk with daughters Sophie Rywaczuk (left) and Ava Rywaczuk. Max Winkelman photo.

Turning pennies into a waterpark

Construction currently underway in Centennial Park

About seven years ago, the federal government announced they would be eliminating the penny. Today that announcement has led to the construction of a waterpark in 100 Mile House.

“We were just discussing it over dinner and my husband just said ‘wouldn’t it be great if everybody donated all their pennies?’ when we saw on the news that the one-cent coin was going out of circulation,” says Jamie Hughes-Rywaczuk, the driving force behind the project.

She posted the idea to Facebook and it caught on. They started collecting pennies in big water jugs around the community and would roll them up with a bunch of volunteers on the weekends and raised about $1,300.

Once the pennies were collected, they held a vote in the community on whether to give it to a charity or to build a waterpark. About 90 per cent of the vote was for a waterpark, according to Hughes. She says she had no idea what to do next but got some encouragement from Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.

When they met with a waterpark rep at the time, they found out the cost was about four times as high as what Williams Lake had paid for their water park about 10 years earlier, she says.

They went to the South Cariboo Joint Committee and were told that if they managed to fundraise the money the committee would provide the land.

“We got our first lump sum of $20,000 from the Youth and Rec Association. They were folding in 100 Mile,” she says. “So we had a decent little foundation to build on.”

They held some fundraisers, including bake sales and an outdoor movie night.

“When we did the movie night that was kind of our boost because that’s when we realized how much the community wanted this project because we had so many people come to the park and donate quite a bit.”

Many of the local businesses were eager to help bring the events as well, she says.

They reapproached the South Cariboo Joint Committee and told them the project was going to be out of reach at which point they agreed to build the lift station at their cost.

“We just kept hitting roadblocks though. There were no government grants that were available for a water park anywhere in the province. They’ve never given a grant for a waterpark that we’ve seen. We applied to everything. We just kept getting declined, declined, declined.”

With help from the Joint Committee and the province they did ultimately reach their goal of $220,000. They wouldn’t be building without the help from the district, the CRD and our MLA, she says.

Von Rywaczuk, Jamie’s husband, says they felt pretty defeated at times and was ready to give up. However, Jamie ads they hit a point of no return.

“When you have a community’s support and involvement and money, you can’t quit.”

When asked if they would do it again, Von and Jamie responded with an instant and simultaneous “no” followed by laughter.

“It was hard. I shed tears,” says Jamie. Von says there were sleepless nights.

“Sitting here and seeing this just makes it worthwhile. You realize that we made this happen,” says Von.

In the summer, much of the play equipment is too hot and the creek isn’t the safest because of the risk of drowning, says Jamie, who runs a daycare and has young children.

“A water park is perfect.”

They were hoping to have it open for July 1, but are currently anticipating it opening on Aug. 1.

They say they’re really grateful for all the community support from those who donated pennies to those who donated thousands as well as Norm and Jen Knutsen and past and present members of the Waterpark Society.

 

A mockup of what the park is expected to look like. Submitted photo.

Just Posted

100 Mile House Blind Curling team comes in third on home ice

Club will be going to the 2019 Western Blind Curling Association Championship in March

Combination of skiing and yoga is a hit for the 100 Mile House Nordics Club

The club offers a new program where women can night ski together and wind down with yoga

100 Mile House’s Youth Zone to be given a new name and branding

CFEC hoping rebrand will help them with youth engagement

Athlete in Focus: Harley Bootsma of the 100 Mile House Wranglers

“I definitely play a lot more here then I did in Revelstoke”

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Most Read