With the summer now over, the City’s parks Department can do a review of the Summer activities. Currently City crews maintain five major parks, like Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, 39 sports and recreational fields, and 77 neighbourhood parks and tot lots. That doesn’t include trails, medians and boulevards.
“When we look internally at what we do and we try and prioritize what’s really important to the community,” explains the Manager of Parks, Sean LeBrun. “By the time the snow melts in the Spring and falls in the Autumn, it’s a real sprint.”
However, Council was told there isn’t enough staff to maintain all the facilities as well as the department would like, as evidenced by the backlog of nuisance tree treatments. The current backlog of service requests is fast approaching 100 calls. The City has three arborists and one tree trimming truck.
“Probably the most telling is our urban forestry and our community forest and our lack of ability to response [to complaints of nuisance trees] in a timely manner.”
During a discussion at Council, it was suggested Council may look at clawing back $2 million from the roads budget and take have of that for parks.
“It’s certainly an exciting time for the Parks Department. We’ve always been forgotten about when it comes to budgets,” he says. “Roads are obviously the most important, and clean drinking water and water and sewer and all the other stuff that goes with the utilities. So the Parks Departments always been bringing up the rear, so to speak.”
Cottonwood Island Park has been identified as a priority for next year.
“We’re losing parts of the Island every year with erosion. So there was a project put forward heading into next year to address the issues, make sure that, for one, we’re not losing more of the Island. We arm the banks so that erosion stops. And then we look at the rest of the park to try and create a park that is not flood-proof, but flood resistant.”
Budget talks will get underway in the new year.