Work crews last week poured a large asphalt pad in the extension to Creekside’s Alpha Lake Park, moving ahead a process that started in the spring of 2005.
The RMOW acquired the additional 0.49 hectares of land (1.28 acres) as a concession from the adjoining Kerfoot property, after altering the zoning and approving a private ice rink. The plan was to add that land to Alpha Lake Park, extending the waterfront area to include more space for park users as well as a new dog beach.
Recreation was also part of the plan. The existing tennis court will be removed and covered with grass, while the new asphalt section will include two tennis courts and an outdoor basketball hoop. The Valley Trail will be realigned and trees and bushes removed to join the two sections of park and improve water access.
“(The asphalt pad) looks kind of big and ugly now, but once we add grass and the fencing and paint the courts it’s going to be a nice park,” said RMOW parks planner Kevin McFarland.
The dog beach is a major component of the expansion.
“We’re going to be designating the waterfront as a dog zone, and will be encouraging and forcing people to keep dogs out of the children’s play area in the existing park and beach area,” he said. “There have been a lot of conflicts and there are health issues as well.”
McFarland is also looking at different options to build an outdoor bouldering wall for rock climbers, and says the department will make an application for funding to upgrade or replace the existing wood play structure which is rotting.
“We have a limited number of years before the structure is going to be past repair, and we think it’s of value to make some substantial changes and rebuild,” he said. “We want to make sure whatever we build has character, like the existing structure, but sheds water better and is built to last.”
In 2005 the RMOW approved the park expansion plans, setting aside $154,500 for the initial landscaping and construction. The entire project, including a reroute of the Valley Trail, landscaping, dog beach, climbing wall and courts, is expected to be complete by the end of summer.
The park expansion comes at a time when the municipality is looking at ways to expand the Lakeside Park area, and ease the pressure on crowded Lost Lake and Rainbow Parks.