North Shore kiddos have received a gift in time for Thanksgiving long weekend.
The city has opened a new playground on McArthur Island. It is located behind the mini-golf course and is part of the city’s long-term plan to redevelop the former McArthur Island Golf Course into a passive park space.
The city’s parks manager, Jeff Putnam, said the full project scope included addition of a disc golf course, new pathways, toilets and pollinator garden. The new playground and picnic area are now complete, with a picnic area with covered gazebos, pathway upgrades and a disc golf practice area to come.
The remainder of the project includes working with Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc on historical and interpretive signage.
“Other than that, it’ll be complete,” Putnam said, noting public feedback on transformation of the nine-hole pitch and putt into a passive recreational park space has been positive.
“Feedback has been phenomenal,” he said. “Probably once a week, I get feedback on how much they enjoy that part of the island, where they never used to go before. They weren’t golfers, necessarily, and they used to just watch the ring road, the main ring road and not the outer one. The benefit for the city is we’re getting more people back there, which has actually reduced vandalism and other issues we had been having.”
The budget was $812,000 and Putnam said the project will be “well within” that cost. The largest component was the playground, at $500,000. Putnam said the playground cost included excavation work and concrete.
The city is also looking to install the city’s first fully inclusive, accessible playground at Riverside Park. Putnam said the custom playgrounds are quite expensive, but the city has received a corporate donation of $200,000. It would be integrated with the existing playground at the downtown park. Fully accessible playgrounds typically include hard surfaces for wheelchairs. Putnam said it would be a first of its kind playground in the city.
“If that gets approved by council, that will hopefully go in next year at Riverside,” he said.
• The city is encouraging residents to take a photo of family and friends on the McArthur Island playground and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, with the hashtag #mymacpark. Those who use the hashtag will be entered to win a family set of mini-golf clubs, a disc golf package and one of two $50 gift certificates for Taste Kitchen Cate. The contest closes on Oct. 24 and prizes will be drawn the following day.