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Splash-pad project to honour girl’s memory is gaining momentum

Emily Trudeau's uncle is part of a task force trying to bring a splash pad to Tweed in her memory. Photo courtesy Shawn Trudeau. [1]

A splash pad in Tweed to honour the memory of Emily Trudeau (above) is the goal of a fundraising project. Photo courtesy Shawn Trudeau

By Bevan Hamilton [2]

BELLEVILLE – A proposed splash pad in the village of Tweed [3] in memory of Emily Trudeau is poised to advance to the final round of a national funding competition sponsored by the Aviva [4] insurance company.

Emily, 7, was killed in August in an accident at her family’s farm near Tweed.

The Aviva Community Fund [5] is a competition hosted by Aviva, an insurance company that, according to its website, is “committed to helping Canadians make a positive impact by funding local and national initiatives for change.” The company said that’s why it started the competition. It gives out $1 million in funding every year to community projects.

The splash pad has garnered 15,353 votes so far, which ranks it third in the national competition. It is all but guaranteed a spot in the final round, in which a panel of 10 judges will decide where the funding will go.

Emily’s uncle, Shawn Trudeau, is one of several members of the Emily Trudeau Splash Pad [6] task force. Trudeau said the idea came from Emily’s love of splash pads – play areas with water spray jets that children can run through. The community wanted to do something to remember Emily as well as giving Tweed something it didn’t have, he said.

The goal of the task force is to build the splash pad by next summer. The total cost is estimated at $300,000. The winner in each of the two categories of the Aviva Community Fund will receive between $50,000 and $100,000.

“It’s really going to make a huge impact on our small community having a space where 1,100 kids are going to be able to play and splash in the splash pad,” Trudeau said. “It’s not just about us – it’s about the whole community.”

Rayburn Insurance Brokers Ltd. [7], a Tweed company, was one of the first insurance companies to jump on board the splash-pad idea, but it isn’t the only one. Trudeau said five insurance brokers across Ontario have supported the project.

The splash pad is currently one of 120 community ideas in the Aviva semi-finals. There are two categories – funding below $50,000 and funding above $50,000. The splash pad is in the latter category. The 40 ideas with the most votes will advance to the finals.

Voting runs until Wednesday at noon.

Trudeau said the splash pad is important for the healing process of the Tweed community.

“When we lost (Emily), it didn’t just hurt us. For those next few days, it seemed to take the life out of the town. You could feel the hurt in this town. Everybody is looking for something to cling to to take this negative and turn it into a positive. This is a vessel for doing that.”

Trudeau said each vote the idea receives is a reassurance for everybody that they are not alone. The splash pad will make the community happy by turning the idea into a positive place for everybody to reflect and think, he said.

The plan is to build the splash pad next to the Erin Palmateer Pool on Alexander Street in Tweed.

To help honour the memory of Emily, you can vote on the Aviva Community Fund website here [8]. You can also donate to the splash-pad project at branches of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, using transit number 03342 and account number 08-16132.