A four-year quest of a Trail councillor came to fruition Friday after the final touches were installed on a new playground in Lower Sunningdale park.
Coun. Robert Cacchioni was the first to take the “buggy” for a spin, one of many features meant to engage children from ages two to 12.
Council approved $50,000 in the 2013 budget to complete the playground, which is in the first phase of the city’s proposed plan to upgrade the park.
“This park is heavily used throughout the year,” said Cacchioni. “Over the course of the summer two to three thousand people will pass through for soccer alone. Now the younger kids will have something to do.”
In addition to the playground, a temporary port-a-potty is now in place so families do not have to drive to use the amenities at Gyro Park.
Cacchioni is proposing permanent washrooms that will be open year-round, an instalment that could happen next year.
“A lot of people walk down here. In the winter they come to cross country ski or snowshoe,” he said, adding “we need to have services available at this park to accommodate everyone.”
Although infrastructure costs such as sewer and water line upgrades take priority in the city’s budget, Cacchioni is hopeful that the second phase of the project will begin next year.
Proposed park upgrades include a resurfacing of the tennis courts with a special coating that can be flooded in the winter for an ice-skating rink or outdoor hockey venue; and hanging hoops for basket ball players.
“By the time the plan is complete the whole thing may cost up to $225,000,” said Cacchioni. “It will only move forward when council approves it.”
Although further park improvements could be deferred indefinitely, the Parks and Recreation Department is currently developing a master plan to deliver services to Trail residents.
The purpose of the plan is to assist the city in developing strategies to provide quality leisure services for the next 10 years and beyond.
“We had to look at what was going to be best for recreational services in the long run,” said Cacchioni. “Things may not happen this year or next, but that is the upside of a plan. No matter who is running the ship there is a goal to work toward.”
Over the last six months, information has been collected from stakeholder interviews, council workshops, and a general community survey, which closed July 1.
Key recommendations and priorities extracted from the data will include short, mid and long-term goals and what direction to take the services in.
This fall, the Parks and Recreation department will host a public meeting to reveal a draft of the master plan.
“My biggest hope is that by the end of it all, the community has participated in the process to develop the plan,” said director Trisha Davison.
“Because it is the residents who benefit directly or indirectly from the services.”