January 17, 2014 - 8:25 AM
KAMLOOPS – The city will seem a little bit greener this year with four city parks set for completion sometime during 2014.
Campbell Creek Park, Dufferin Park , West Highlands Park and a new BMX park are all on slate to be completed this year. Renovating the old BMX park to create more parking for McArthur Island Park also includes new public art at the roundabout in front of Interior Savings Centre and landscaping along Lorne Street.
Even though a lot of time and money is being put into green spaces residents don't need to be worried about increased taxes because of it. Development cost charges are collected from developers and often cover at least half the costs associated with park development.
Parks Planning and Project Supervisor Nick DeCicco says the charges can only be used for certain aspects of the park but in the case of these three parks the necessary city funds have been put aside by council for several years already. Every new development needs to designate a certain amount of area for park land as well, which means the city isn't buying up land to create the parks.
“It's part of our overall master plan,” DeCicco says. “We want to ensure there's green space, park space, open space in every community. A place for people to go, a place for kids to go and have fun.”
Campbell Creek Park and Dufferin Park were both scheduled for completion in 2013 but got pushed back as other projects took longer to complete. Both projects have a budget of $250,000.
Campbell Creek will offer a playground, picnic tables and benches with a trail connecting open and natural areas. Dufferin, located just above the current school and park, will be left natural with walking trails and a minibike skills circuit for 5-10-year-olds. A drainage and wetlands plan is also in the works with Ducks Unlimited for the lower level of the park.
West Highlands Park faced delays last year but drainage was addressed in the fall and it is still expected the park will be completed in 2014. Another public house will be held in the spring to finalize plans but crews are ready to pave the trails, start the soccer field construction and begin turning the clubhouse into a new community hall for the neighbourhood.
DeCicco says the $2.7 million budget for the Aberdeen park may seem high but the space is more complex because of the drainage and rocky terrain. Plans for the space have been in the works for awhile and as a result the development charges will cover half the cost. The charges have been collected over the years to help ensure park space would be included for the West Highlands area.
Parks is also working with the BMX club in the relocation of the track to Ord Road next to the new transit garage. A total of $300,000 was budgeted for the move several years ago to help give the club what it had at McArthur Island park. The dirt has already been moved and now the track, storage, starting gate and clubhouse are set to be completed this spring.
The move will also open up a couple hundred parking spots at McArthur Island Park, but fill needs to be hauled in first, which means repairs to the roadway will have to wait a couple years as well.
“We added several hundred spots in 2009 when we did the update,” DeCicco says, “There is still a parking crunch though, and we hope this will help to alleviate it.”
If the parks crews weren't busy enough with these four projects they're also the ones completing landscaping along Lorne Street as the beautification project nears completion. Construction work for the corner of Lorne Street and 1 Avenue will go to tender this spring and after completion parks will be responsible for extensive landscaping, trees and signage. The statue set for the roundabout at 3 Avenue is also set to go in soon and landscaping will need to be completed there as well.
Money for the public art sculptures around the city all comes from a public arts reserve fund that has been in place for years. The city doesn't use it every year, but it's there for projects like the Lorne Street roundabout, says Mayor Peter Milobar.
Council was asked to allow for $75,000 for commissioning the piece last March and over the fall the base work was started at the roundabout. The base work is also covered by the reserve fund.
The piece is being built in Vancouver and is expected to be erected this February. The sculpture is just one of about 10 already on display in the Riverside Park area. The fund has also paid for the Overlanders statue in front of City Hall, the totem pole by Superstore and for the base needed for a donated sculpture now on display at Victoria Street and 2 Avenue.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014