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REPORTING · 20th May 2015
Walter McFarlane
The Riverlodge Playground came up at the Regular meeting of Council on Monday, May 4th. Councillor Mary Murphy made a motion for Council to provide the funding of $55,000 to replace the play structures at Riverlodge in the 2015 Budget.

Councillor Claire Rattee asked why Angle Street Park was also mentioned in the report. She asked if replacing Angel Street Park was included in the $55,000. Martin Gould, head of the Leisure Services department explained Angle Street Park was slated for replacement. A previous Council was given a report on replacing it as well as the Riverlodge Park.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked if they had already put money into funding the park on Angle Street. He was told they had not.

“I’m still not convinced of the frequency of Riverlodge usage warrants the expenditure. I would be happy to defer it to another year,” said Feldhoff.

He said there was a comment on the need for a park on Wozney Street. He said they should not be buying equipment at this time but they should at least grass up the area and landscape it. He said he was against the Riverlodge Playground and put it off for one more year.

“We’ve had a long discussion on this,” began Councillor Mary Murphy, “On whether the playground is safe, whether it’s not, whether we should bulldoze it, how many people use it, how many people don’t use it and staff has prepared a really great report that gives us a view on all the different parks and playgrounds in the area.”

Murphy said Riverlodge may not have the most equipment, but it has equipment and the Council wants to keep providing the services around the community so she wants to keep the park going for the kids who attend with their parents.

Rattee suggested they table the motion until they figure out the Council’s funding as well as what they are going to do with the other parks in town, such as the Kildala School Playground. She pointed out they were not going to start it right away and they would have the time to figure it all out.

Feldhoff seconded the tabling motion.

Gould pointed out they could not consider bundling an item until it goes out for tender and they receive quotes back. He added the best quote could be from a different company from the one the Kildala PAC plans on using to build their playground.

Councillor Edwin Empinado stated the Kildala Playground was existing non-conforming and was probably unsafe so the town would be on the hook if something happened on it and this would cost them more than $55,000.

Feldhoff said there was a good analogy about cars which was made a few weeks ago. He said modern cars have all kinds of new technology which older vehicles do not. This does not mean the older vehicles are unsafe. He wanted to put this off one year.

“I think we’re putting too much into the safety aspect of this given the frequency of use at Riverlodge,” said Feldhoff.

Mayor Phil Germuth asked if this was in the budget. He said it was but it was not approved. Murphy stated she was not certain what the use of the playground was, but whenever she was at Riverlodge, it was being used.

“I don’t want to start cutting our services so we can fund another service in town. I want to enhance it but I don’t want to take that service away from the children that are there and it’s close to the river. I don’t want to start jeopardizing what we’re providing as a service to supplement somebody else’s,” said Murphy.

She stated they should ask staff how much the playground is used because a suggestion from one of the Councillor’s was to bulldoze it and just put gravel there. She added if this is what Council wants, it was something they should do to the rest of the parks in town.

Councillor Rob Goffinet said whenever he is at Riverlodge, he sees tonnes of children on the playground. He sees them playing on the playground during Canada Day. Kids from Terrace and Smithers play on the playground and they appreciate it being there.

“It’s children. The standards have to be highest for Children and the standards at this moment are kind of on the edge. That’s not good enough for playground equipment that we encourage children to play on at special times of the year,” said Goffinet.

He said they should proceed immediately. The tabling motion was called and it failed. The motion to put in the playground was called and carried.