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MD council cuts the ribbon on latest Kinosoo attraction

Lakeland public officials gathered to mark the grand opening of the MD of Bonnyville’s Kinosoo Ridge Aerial Adventure Park. Local politicians could not hide their excitement while testing out the new attraction's obstacle course. 

BONNYVILLE – Nothing could dampen the excitement of local municipal leaders who gathered on a windy Thursday morning to mark the completion of the long awaited Kinosoo Ridge Aerial Adventure Park.  

On May 19, council members from the MD of Bonnyville not only had the honour of cutting the ribbon on the new aerial adventure park, but they also had the chance to test out the equipment before the park's soft opening that took place over the May long weekend. 

The latest addition will help Kinosoo Ridge transition from a winter ski resort to an all-season tourist destination, which has taken immense effort and commitment from both past and current MD councils and administration. 

The 64 ft. tower is composed of three activity levels and a viewing platform at the very top that overlooks the resort with a stunning view of French Bay. 

The aerial structure includes over 40 unique elements that incorporate iconic symbols that represent the greater Lakeland community such as a maple leaf, a canoe, a rowboat, wheat stocks, barrels, and even a jet plane zipline.  

The adventure park has also been designed with accessibility and inclusivity in mind. A pathway leading up to the aerial park is wheelchair accessible and the first level of the tower includes a short course that can be completed in a wheelchair. 

The park has resources and equipment on hand to increase accessibility for users. Families and guests unsure if their needs can be accommodated are encouraged to contact Kinosoo Ridge directly. 

Guests are also required to book time slots, which are two hours and include a 15-minute ground school session. Kinosoo’s guidelines limit the number of guests on the equipment at one time to 35 people, however, the structure’s maximum capacity is significantly higher. 

Marking a long-awaited opening 

Those who were tasked with turning the idea of an aerial adventure park at Kinosoo Ridge into a reality faced several challenges and delays since the project received the green light back in 2020. 

However, the challenges endured were the last things local leaders dwelled on during the park’s opening ceremony. 

“Believe me when I say – this is just the beginning,” said MD of Bonnyville Reeve Barry Kalinski.  

The adventure park is one of many long-term projects the municipality’s council is pursuing to increase recreation opportunities for residents and to attract tourists from across Alberta and Saskatchewan.  

Kalinski also expressed gratitude to the previous reeve and council who had the foresight to travel down the longer-than-expected road to create the recreational amenity. 

“I am going to take it upon myself to get a plaque made for the seven of them that had this vision,” Kalinski added. 

A regional affair

Also, in attendance was City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland, Town of Bonnyville Mayor Elisa Brosseau and County of St. Paul Reeve Glen Ockerman. Former MD of Bonnyville reeve Greg Sawchuck, along with representatives from 4 Wing Cold Lake and Alberta Environment and Parks were also on hand. 

Copeland congratulated the MD on its success and the move toward creating an all-season resort that he says will have a great economic impact for the region and surrounding municipalities.  

“It is a gem,” he said, adding, it takes the dedication of multiple councils over multiple years working together with a uniform vision to bring recreational projects like the Kinosoo Ridge Aerial Adventure Park to fruition. 

“It doesn’t matter which municipality you’re from... things like this will keep our kids busy,” said Copeland, drawing laughter from the crowd. 

Mayor Brosseau highlighted the community benefits of the MD’s new recreational facility, not only for MD residents but for the wider community. 

She stated that not only will the adventure park lend itself to family oriented outdoor physical activity, but it will also increase leisure tourism in the Lakeland region. 

“May 19, 2022, is a great day for our region,” stated Ockerman at the beginning of his speech. 

The County of St. Paul reeve noted his gratitude for being included in the ceremony and complimented the forward thinking of the municipality in creating and bringing the unique outdoor amenity to the region. 

The last speaker to take to the microphone was Sawchuk, who was the elected reeve when the development of the aerial park was first proposed and approved. 

“It’s a long story,” he prefaced with a laugh.  

Sawchuk recounted how the idea behind the aerial park was born at Kinosoo Ridge during a brainstorming session among staff members. It was incorporated into the municipality’s Master Plan and quickly grew in popularity among residents. 

“This is what people wanted,” he said. “The engineering and building took much longer than I could have imagined, but hey, it’s here and it looks fantastic... I look forward to the families and kids who will enjoy it for the years to come.” 

Government contributions 

Through an Infrastructure Canada grant, the municipality was able to secure 40 per cent of the total project cost from the federal government totaling $595,000. 

The provincial government footed roughly 33 per cent of the total project through a Municipal Sustainability Initiatives (MSI) grant, providing $396,000 to the aerial park. This left the MD to cover the remaining $396,000 of the $2 million project. 

To date, just under $1.5 million has been spent. As the summer progresses, MD crews will complete additional landscaping and cosmetic work around the new facility. The project is expected to stay within budget as work wraps up. 

Jazmin Tremblay

About the Author: Jazmin Tremblay

Jazmin completed a minor in journalism at Hanze University in the Netherlands and completed her Communication Studies degree from MacEwan University with a major in journalism.
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