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Summer ready: New Saanich splash pad in ‘pink elephant park’ opens in June

Upgrades in Rutledge Park include new accessible playground, washrooms and changeroom
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Rutledge Park in Saanich is commonly called ‘pink elephant park’ by locals for the unusual concrete elephant that has long called it home. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Rutley the concrete elephant looks a little nude these days, standing on guard behind a fence in his Saanich park.

Residents need not fear, the one-pink pachyderm gets a glow up soon as part of the ongoing upgrades at Rutledge Park.

The reopening of the green space commonly called “pink elephant park” by locals is on track for a grand opening in June, according to a district spokesperson. Upgrades include playground improvements, new splash pad, washroom/change room.

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Most of the new playground equipment – in a modern design that incorporates nature play and natural elements – is in place and features spinners, swings, slides, a tower and a zipline.

Safety surfacing for the playground will be a blend of engineered wood fibre and recycled rubber tires partially funded by the Tire Stewardship of BC grant program.

The seasonal splash pad will have inclusive elements for children and youth of all abilities.

The washroom building will include three private accessible change room stalls along with two private accessible washrooms. The building will be open year-round and locked nightly with change rooms open daily during splash pad season.

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New paved pathways, park furniture and a drinking fountain/water bottle filling station as well as the freshly seeded lawn areas already sprouting will tie things together.

Now a dull grey after sandblasting and minor repairs, Rutley too also part of this makeover journey.

The elephant – said to be a cousin of fellow famed Saanich resident, the Cadborosaurus, was dubbed Rutley during the 2003 official opening of the last revamp of the park when the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association hosted a contest. It has called Rutledge Park home since the 1960s.

The district anticipates Rutley will be back in full bloom soon with a fresh coat of iconic pink paint.

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