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Outdoor recreation park taking shape

MD of Bonnyville council will be reaching out to Town of Bonnyville council to solidify details surrounding the outdoor recreation park
The preliminary design for the MD of Bonnyville's outdoor recreation park was presenting to council during their Oct. 7 committee meeting. File photo.

BONNYVILLE – The draft for the MD of Bonnyville’s outdoor recreation park has council wanting to iron out more details with Town of Bonnyville council.

The municipalities had preliminary discussions in July 2019 of the park being built on the west end of town, which is where the draft site assessment and schematic design was drawn up. Before moving ahead, MD council wanted to iron out the details.

“I think it looks really nice,” noted Coun. Darcy Skarsen during the MD’s Oct. 7 committee meeting. “I think it would compliment the rodeo grounds really nicely. I think it’s probably a good starting point to have discussions with the town to kind of see what their thoughts are.”

CAO Luc Mercier described it as a “chicken and egg situation.”

“The town has been forthcoming verbally and said that we could use this land. We haven’t discussed the particulars with them, nor do we have a long-term lease agreement with them,” he continued. “That would be the next steps and we wanted to ensure that we presented this plan to this council before anybody else.”

After a feasibility study showed a majority of residents were in favour of the MD building an outdoor recreation park, council awarded the contract for the schematic design to Select Engineering.

Along with existing ball diamonds, the plan suggested adding pickleball fields, a storm water lake, two soccer fields, day use areas, additional parking lots, informal camping areas, and more.

The site assessment outlined that the 6200 47th Ave. location’s existing ball diamonds provided a good foundation for the establishment of a tournament facility to support regional and provincial events, the proximity to the rodeo grounds provides opportunities to expand and support the programming activities at the park, and the site drainage patterns may be beneficial for the establishment of a storm water pond to support irrigation requirements within the park.

Evidence of historic dumping and filling adjacent of Jessie Lake requiring additional investigation to mitigate the impacts of the water body were along some constraints, along with limited servicing information being available for the site and desktop environmental investigation identified a strong probability that wetland features are present on the property, with the potential that some of the features may have been disturbed. Further investigation will be required prior to site development.

The water issues were a concern for Coun. Dana Swigart.

“It looks really nice because of the water features, the storm water (lake), but is that a possibility that it's not the best location?”

Palmer responded, “Until we actually do the storm water management and have it approved by Alberta Environment, that’s a tough call. If you work with the natural water flows and build the warm water features based on the highest amount of cube of water that you might get within a given year in any water event.”

The MD’s next steps are to present the plan to town council and to see how they would like to be involved with the project.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle