The Ridgemont Park new playground proposal was contracted to local landscaping company Mow and Snow Land Care during the April 27 council meeting, despite suggestions from council to allow the surrounding community to rebuild the park.
The proposed redo will include equipment themes that are consistent with the surrounding landscape, a canopy that will provide shade, a unique swingset, climbing features, picnic tables, an expanded basketball court surface, additional trees and benches. In addition, a new sign will be erected, welcoming guests to the park.
“The proposal was reviewed by staff and the neighbourhood group and deemed to be acceptable,” Director of Leisure Services Cam Mertz said. “The city has a really good working relationship with the company.”
The park proposal was tendered out in March, 2015, however, Mow and Snow was the only company to submit a proposal to the city at the price of $83,959.31, a figure Mertz said was within the city’s initial budget for the project.
Council agreed that the erection of a new park is necessary to the Ridgemont area, however, Coun. Jonathan Levesque questioned if the city had proposed that the residents build the park themselves.
Sharing his own experience in assisting in the building of a community park, Levesque said, “The reason we built our own park together was to create a community stakehold in the park itself. Has that been proposed as a option?”
Prior to the tendering process, city staff met with representatives in the neighbourhood to define the design criteria, Mertz said, but because of urgency, the city did not propose full community engagement.
“There seemed to be an urgency to have the project completed,” said Mertz. “A full community engagement and needs assessment requires a lot of time and department resources.”
He went on to say, “I feel that we have a project going forward that meets the requirements that [the neighbourhood] brought forward.”
Coun. Phil Iddon agreed with Mertz remarks, stating, “Having formally lived in that neighbourhood, it’s something that’s fairly long overdue. It’s going to be a great addition to the neighbourhood.”
Iddon, however, questioned if the city could propose that the neighbourhood take some ownership of the park, whether that entail erecting additional trees or erecting their own signage.
“Is there an opportunity for the neighbourhood group to add some value to that? Is there anything that they could add to the project, [something] that they could take ownership of?” Iddon questioned.
Mertz noted that there would be no issues with doing this.
The playground itself is expected to be completed at the end of June, 2015.