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Jasper councillors seek suggestions for No Name Park

by Craig Gilbert | publisher@fitzhugh.ca

Let’s hear it one more time for No Name Park.

Members of Jasper council are open to suggestion for the next little while as they prepare to bring the exchange lands renaming process to a close.

They had a look at a new longer shortlist of names at a committee meeting on April 10. A town administrator confirmed on Tuesday that though referred to more commonly as the exchange lands, the field between the Jasper Activity Centre and the Jasper Legion is technically known as No Name Park (NNP) as a placeholder in the town’s booking system.

A more seemly subheading for the schizophrenic soccer pitch’s saga is scarcely in sight.

About 20 suggestions, some of which had been eliminated by councillors during the last shortlisting process, appeared on the April 10 agenda. None of them jumped off the page, however.

A couple of Cree-language selections presented previously to local politicians were conspicuous by their absence. When asked why by Coun. Rico Damota, administrators said ease of identification in case of emergency was the reason.

Coun. Scott Wilson wasn’t sold on the explanation, noting that if an Indigenous language name is chosen, the danger of confusion could be dispelled with some phonetic education for the public.

Councillors mulled over going through another round of public consultations but, harkening back to the last term, decided that after this much work had already been done, that would run the risk of putting them back at Square One, which is only one square away from No Name Corner.

Email your favourite member of council if you have a suggestion. You can find their addresses on the town’s website.

And then

After all this time the process could stand to be informed by the proposal by Tourism Jasper to build a permanent outdoor stage in NNP.

Executive director James Jackson appeared before councillors to clarify TJ’s request of them for a show of support. There’s a $200,000 gap in the $800,000 thought to be necessary to build the stage and some confusion over whether showing support now would commit the town to picking up that bill later.

“I am hesitant to put pressure on the municipality to feel they’re financially obligated to the outstanding funds,” he said. “It is our hope we can move forward in partnership to secure the entirety of the funding for the project.”

CN Rail and other businesses have come up with $600,000 already. Last week town CAO Mark Fercho said Jasper taxpayers ending up on the hook for $200,000 would be a “worst case scenario” exclusive of Tourism Jasper being able to leverage its grant-seeking expertise into funding from outside sources.

“I do not want the municipality or council to feel they are being backed into a corner in any way,” Jackson continued. Asked by Mayor Richard Ireland, he said his organization had heard some concerns about the funding question from the community since the story broke last month.

“There was a bit of confusion around certain aspects and less focus on the areas we’re looking to address,”  Jackson said. “In retrospect, we could have been a bit softer with our approach in terms of (council) being in support of building a stage and less specific with the details. On the whole, though, things are very positive.”

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