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Donation Brings GP Splash Park Closer To Reality

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The Gilbert Plains splash park took a big step towards completion thanks to a $100,000 donation from Wayne and Gaylene Dutchyshen.

The donation is for the naming rights of the facility, which will be known as the Oksana and Quinn Dutchyshen Memorial Splash Park. It is located near the Gilbert Plains Country Club.

In her remarks to the small gathering attending the donation announcement, Gaylene said it was something she and Wayne had discussed after visiting with family in Newfoundland this summer. While there, the couple took their granddaughter to a new splash park which had opened.

“She had such a great time with two of her little friends. We wondered out loud about the GP splash park and when and if it would ever be built. I mentioned that the committee members’ children might be too old to enjoy it by the time enough money was raised and it’s actually built,” she said.

It was on their way home, that the Dutchyshens decided to make the donation for the naming rights to honour their granddaughters.

Oksana and Quinn Dutchyshen were killed when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and smashed into the vehicle driven by their mother, Aug. 16, 2019.

“The most important thing we want is for the girls to be remembered. They will never be able to play in the splash park, but we wanted to do something in their memory so other children in the community will be able to enjoy it sooner than fund-raising will allow. It’s their gift to the community,” Gaylene said. “The $100,000 we are giving to the community is theirs. It’s the money we would have spent on all the missed birthday and Christmas gifts, the money we would have given to help them with university, it’s the wedding gift they will never receive, the baby gifts we won’t buy for our great grandchildren. It is their inheritance.”

The donation was made on behalf of the entire Dutchyshen family including their father Justin and their aunts Kristin and Kylie and their families.

Splash park committee vice-president Cory Gulenchin said the donation gets the project that much closer to reality.

“We’re obviously going to need a few more dollars just to get the completion done. But we have the building up. We have the park in here. All we need to do is get the filtration system hooked up and do some landscaping. And after that, we’re pretty much ready to rock, hopefully for May or June,” he said.

The project has been underway since the fall of 2017, when committee president Kim Perih felt there was something missing from the community for children.

“The old wading pool that was here has been here since we can remember. It was dilapidated and it was due for a reconstruction or something to get fixed,” Gulenchin said.

Now that the project is near completion, the committee is looking forward to hearing the screams and laughter of children when the park finally opens.

“We’re waiting patiently. I know everything is falling into place and it has been. It’s really come together really quick and we can’t wait to get this opened up and ready for everybody to enjoy,” he said. “And not just Gilbert Plains. But surrounding communities. Everybody can come and enjoy it as much as they want.”

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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