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Council mulls refurbishment of Robson and Lion’s Parks

Jasper Municipal Council is considering refurbishment plans for Robson and Lion’s Parks. Pictured, Robson Park just outside the Jasper Municipal Library on June 28. | P.Shokeir photo

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

The Municipality of Jasper will develop refurbishment plans for Robson and Lion’s Parks after council provided feedback during its June 28 committee of the whole meeting.

Aside from new playground structures added to Lion’s Park over two years ago, neither park has seen significant reinvestment recently.

“We’re looking to get some guidance from committee of the whole with respect to the scope and generalized uses,” CAO Bill Given told council.

A total of $20,000 was approved for developing refurbishment plans, with administration engaging WSP to conduct the planning exercise.

Rob McDonnell, landscape architect with WSP, presented to council the potential funding scenarios and the various upgrades that could occur at the parks over the next 10 years.

While Robson Park benefits from being located close to downtown and the schools, it contains minimal infrastructure and limited parking.

McDonnell suggested some of the park could be allocated towards a garden area and a plaza.

Lion’s Park, meanwhile, caters more to residents and features existing servicing and playground equipment, but the playground equipment styles vary.

Existing playground structures would be consolidated as part of a larger redesign, and features such as a built-up toboggan hill could be added to the area.

Other suggestions for Lion’s Park included a seating area for locals to gather and view the playground, and a programmed recreation area that would retain basketball courts and possibly add other features.

“The size and the shapes, this is not necessarily what the final form will look like,” McDonnell said regarding the presentation.

“But it’s a bit of a high-level shopping list where we’re putting down what we think are the right types of spaces and uses for those spaces and how they may relate to each other in terms of the layout.”

Coun. Helen Kelleher-Empey inquired about a skating area for Robson Park and potentially a spray park at Lion’s Park.

McDonnell noted that a skating area was doable, while warning that a large spray park was a multi-million-dollar project that required a lot of infrastructure to be installed.

Mayor Richard Ireland noted how the usage of Lion’s Park had increased in recent years.

“It’s really fulfilling to see the community using that space, and so to improve it as a playground is wonderful,” he said.

Ireland did raise concerns about whether Parks Canada’s plans for housing development south of Lion’s Park could impact development plans for the park.

He also mentioned how Jasper had hosted its National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations at Robson Park, and that they could potentially “Indigenize” the space.

Coun. Scott Wilson noted how a permanent World Tree could be installed in Robson Park so a new tree didn’t have to be harvested every holiday season.

He added how Robson Park should probably have priority over Lion’s Park.

Out of four funding scenarios, administration recommended a total investment of $750,000 over 10 years, inclusive of $250,000 in fundraising or grants.

Council made no final commitments to any particular upgrades or funding scenario during the meeting.

Once the planning process is completed early this fall, the results will inform the 2023 municipal budget to be considered by council.

Committee received the presentation on the Robson and Lions Park’s planning process for information.

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