Charles Simmonds Park Renewal

Project overview

Charles Simmonds Park lies at the west edge of McKernan, at 115 St. and 79 Ave. It has not been updated in many years and needs attention to make it a greater feature for residents in both communities.

 

A committee led by Gail Fraser-Steffler, a long-time resident, is looking at what the park would need to make it more welcoming to families, seniors, students and all other potential park users. The committee is working on concept planning, consultation, fundraising and navigating City bureaucracy. This webpage will track the progress of the project.

If you are interested in helping out or contributing, contact Gail at gfs@shaw.ca

Location and vision

Because the park is located in the Mckernan Hip (the section adjacent to Belgravia), the project will primarily be under the auspices of the McKernan Community League. However, the Belgravia Community League will also be an important part of the process.

The long-term vision is to provide a park that serves the diverse demographics that live in the McKernan Hip and north Belgravia communities (eg. children, seniors, young adults, dog owners, families). A new playground will be a main focus with a view to complement the existing playgrounds in McKernan and Belgravia, not duplicate them. Another main focus is to provide access into the park for seniors and users with limited mobility.

Process

The Neighbourhood Park Development Program has five phases of work: strategy, concept, design, build and operate. Community groups work with a team of City staff through all phases of the project. NPDP projects are funded through a combination of City NPDP matching grants and community dollars.

 

Where we are: Strategy phase

The Charles Simmonds Park renewal is at the beginning of strategy phase. The Park committee submitted a brief project proposal which was assessed by the City's Park & Facility Development Team for its general viability. The project has been classified as an Intermediate (Playground Replacement) project and would be supported with either Basic or Intermediate NPDP funding (upon application at end of concept phase). Our committee has been given the go ahead to start work on the NPDP strategy documents, including a plan to engage the community.

Concept phase

Once the strategy phase has been completed and signed off by both the community group & City liaisons, the project will move into concept phase. A City project manager and landscape architect will then be assigned to work with the community on a concept plan with more design specifics.

Design, build and operate

It will take at least 2 - 3 years to complete the park upgrade. During that period there will be extensive consultation with the community and a significant fundraising effort. It may be that park improvements will have to be completed in stages. Developers building in the community could also be approached for financial support.

 

Example suggestions

A large number of suggestions have been received for the park. Not all of them will be possible; there will be a consultation process with the community to determine which ones are most desirable.

The complete list of ideas that were brought forward so far:

  • retain the open space character of the park

  • natural style of playground that complements the park’s natural spaces

  • a hill which would provide summer and winter play

  • security – possibly added lighting

  • more benches and tables, not just at the edge of the park

  • some paths to make the centre of the park more accessible to seniors and those with limited mobility

  • barbeque sites or fire pit

  • designated off-leash area

  • plantings on the edge to prevent parking in the park itself

  • possibly add a small parking area

  • a bicycle skills track for children

  • small community garden for apartment dwellers

  • covered picnic tables

  • basketball court

  • seniors recreation equipment

  • adult exercise equipment

  • teeter totters

  • stage area

  • saskatoon and raspberry garden

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