City council would like to explore more funds for the playground in North Canoe, but not this year.
In response to complaints, council discussed the new playground at Jackson Park at its Oct. 14 meeting.
The features in the non-traditional park, which is designed for imaginative play, include synthetic stepping stones and rocks for climbing, a rope bridge, a pretend creek, a play canoe, two baby swings and a tire for swinging. The playground has been criticized for its lack of a slide, teeter-totter, bench and enough swings.
Coun. Chad Eliason asked what the cost would be to add more traditional equipment and if there are funds remaining in the 2014 budget.
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said there is no money left in this year’s budget.
He said the city has looked at more swings and some benches, which would amount to about $30,000 for delivery, installation and a safe fall area for the children.
Eliason asked if staff could keep an eye out for extra funds in the 2015 budget just completed, or if council could make a specific referral for the 2016 budget.
Mayor Nancy Cooper asked if there is money left in the park reserve fund. Monica Dalziel, the city’s chief financial officer, said it would be possible, but she wasn’t sure how much is left.
Eliason said he thinks it’s a little late in the year to start digging, but possibly next spring.
He noted the city has $20,000 in the 2015 budget for upgrades to baseball fields in Canoe, and has done a considerable amount of work on infrastructure.
Niewenhuizen said the work in the Canoe area included approximately $890,000 this year in asphalt overlay projects, water main repairs, sewer main repairs and the Jackson park redevelopment.
Coun. Ken Jamieson said he sees what’s been done as phase one at the park, and he’s hoping money can be found to do more next year.
Mayor Nancy Cooper said she, too, would like to see more done, as she’s received a number of phone calls.
Coun. Debbie Cannon said she thinks it’s necessary to put the park in perspective, noting she spent time on it when she was growing up. She said the swings and the little merry-go-round on it were very old and not safe.
“If we look on it as an improvement, I think we can build on it.”
Although some of the complaints discussed at the council meeting were regarding the playground’s dark look, the more colourful recycled-tire rubber matting has since arrived and been installed.