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Upgrades coming to Meadow Park Sports Centre

Municipal budget also proposes underpasses to protect Western toad migration

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Meadow Park Sports Centre (MPSC) users can look forward to a host of planned upgrades and expansions at the athletic facility this year, to the tune of $750,000 in 2014.

The RMOW outlined the annual ongoing project in its recently released 2014-18 budget, earmarking almost $3.9 million for infrastructure replacement over the next five years, of which $625,000 is planned for this year.

Staff has also budgeted $125,000 for 2014 in order to replace select fitness equipment, like ellipticals and treadmills, some of which are approaching 20 years old, said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"We have to stay competitive (with private fitness facilities), and we're very aware of that both with the equipment, the programming, and so on," she said. "We also have to keep our standards high because the facility's very often used by high-level national and international athletes."

Some of the planned work for this year includes replacing ceiling lights at the facility's pool, renovating the front desk area, installing a new music system, repairing cracks in the parking lot, and adding heating for the pool change rooms.

The RMOW will also dedicate an additional $100,000 from the municipal coffers for a rejuvenation study that will establish priorities for upgrade and expansion at Meadow Park over the long term.

Protective underpass to be erected for migrating Western toads

Earlier this year, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden received a message from a regular resort visitor from Washington State "appalled' at the mortality rate of Western toads typically found in Lost Lake Park.

While that wasn't the impetus for the two underpasses that will be erected under the Valley Trail and Lost Lake entrance road this summer to protect the species during its mass migration period, Wilhelm-Morden said it's an issue the municipality will do whatever it can to address.

"There are 1,800 toads per hour that go across the beach trail (during the migration period), so what this underpass will do is help the toads stay out of areas where they can get squished," Wilhelm-Morden said.

Close to $20,000 has been budgeted for the project, building on a protective fence and bridge the RMOW installed previously.

The migration period for the toadlets, which are typically no bigger than a dime, usually lasts three to five weeks in the mid to late summer, although weather conditions can affect toadlets' behaviour and migration patterns.

Last summer, the municipality urged the public to keep an eye out for the more than 25,000 toads migrating from the beach at Lost Lake Park to a nearby forest.

The Western toad is a blue-listed species by the B.C. Government, meaning it is a species of concern. The population is extremely vulnerable to disturbances due to its life cycle and breeding habits. Typically, only a miniscule percentage of female toadlets reach adulthood.

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