Five million litres is a lot of water to maintain a park that’s rarely used.
Centennial Park is the open hillside of trees and grass that casts a pretty view to passersby east of Glenmerry on Highway 3B.
But a summer of drought tacked on to a local water smart initiatives, has Trail council and the city agreeing, it’s high time to re-look at the lush, underutilized space.
“The issue came up with a staff discussion regarding Centennial Park as it pertains to usage of water and the need to decrease the level of watering in the city,” David Perehudoff, the city’s chief administrative officer, explained at the Monday governance meeting.
“The park was identified as a wide open green space whereby it’s fairly benign as far as use is concerned,” he added. “When you consider the level of costs that go into maintaining the massive green space.”
Taking into account the city’s master parks and recreation plan, the property could be reconfigured to maximize use.
“Recognizing there’s different ways to develop the property such that we could reduce not only water consumption, but also the ongoing need to maintain…on a weekly basis both handmowing and riding mowers given the slopes that exist,” Perehudoff said.
Council agreed to contract MMM Group, the Okanagan-based firm that designed the downtown revitalization plan, with the planning re-design and naturalization of the park, as well as construction cost estimates.
Once concepts are on paper, nothing will happen before public consultation. After that, it’s up to council to prioritize the project during annual budget talks.
“Given the proximity of the space to adjacent homes and the importance the area provides to Glenmerry as a whole it is suggested…that the city undertake a public consultation process before any project is included in the capital budget,” Perehudoff clarified.
Coun. Robert Cacchioni said the project could be inline with what is currently popular in recreation – biking and walking trails.
“This is a great idea, and anytime I drive by, there’s all this space and nobody is ever there,” he said. “I’m all for trying to save money and be green, and having biking and walking trails. We killed the creek that used to be there, so we would be letting it go back to its natural state.”
Centennial Park was established in 1967 when the municipalities of Trail and Tadanac commemorated the location to honour the Centennial of the Confederation of Canada.
The strip of land was transformed from hillside landscape and natural drainage into a lavish park that drains community resources through intensive maintenance such as irrigating, mowing and pruning, Engineering Technician John Howes wrote to council.
The Centennial Park area rarely hosts large public gatherings, such as the giant water slide event this summer, and the isolated location is used for more individual activities, such as disc golf and tobogganing.
The park maintenance and watering requirements is a tremendous strain on city staff and hinders the city from meeting its goal of reducing water usage by 20 per cent, Howes said, referring to the weekly drain of water from the Bear Creek reservoir.
“This volume of water is equivalent to more than four Glenmerry reservoirs per week, with very little programming or usage of the space.”