A new parkour-type climbing area will replace an old wooden play structure at Roger Creek Water Park this spring. It’s just one of several projects the City of Port Alberni’s parks, recreation and heritage department has planned for area parks in 2018.
City parks operations supervisor Rob Gaudreault and his crew began installing the new play equipment at Roger Creek Water Park a couple of months ago. He hopes the work will be completed by mid-May, but it’s completely dependent on the weather. The climbing structure was erected in late February and some rock work was done, but inclement weather in March has halted any progress.
“We’re waiting for the weather,” he said. “We have a lot of back-filling to put around it plus fall protection.”
That “fall protection” will be fire retardant wood chips—a departure from other Port Alberni playgrounds, but necessary due to cost constraints.
Gaudreault is particularly proud of this new equipment because it’s only the second parkour-type climbing structure installed in B.C. “We’re ahead of the curve,” he said.
A new swing set will also be installed as well as four new benches and two picnic tables. The Alberni Valley Lions Club will sponsor the installation of a wheelchair accessible picnic table.
“It’s going to look really neat,” Gaudreault said.
The waterpark equipment will also all be in working order for kids to use when the weather turns hot.
Blair Park will also be receiving some TLC from the parks crew this year, Gaudreault said. Crews will re-surface the spray park at the popular park that backs onto Kitsuksis Dyke. New fall protection will go in at the play park area and the park itself will be getting some new drainage where Gaudreault admitted “it pools up pretty badly.”
Funding for the Blair Park improvements would be done as a capital project, he added.
The playground at Harbour Quay will be getting new rubberized anti-fatigue matting (the same as Blair Park). Progress is being made on the wooden shelter at Canal Waterfront Park that was started last fall. Improvements can also be seen at Millstone Park next to Victoria Quay, along the Somass River.
The parks, rec and heritage department will also be carrying on with the second phase of development at Recreation Park and Gyro Youth Centre on Seventh Avenue. All new fencing will be installed on the grandstands as well as some new siding “where the budget makes it fit,” Gaudreault said.