A new park is on the way for a growing Nanaimo neighbourhood.
The developing Linley Point subdivision will see work begin on a park next week through the city’s Partners in Parks program, an initiative that gives communities a hand in shaping public spaces.
Residents have re-named the 3.5-hectare undeveloped green space, wedged between Rutherford Road and Linley Valley Drive, Linley Point Gyro Park. It’s an area that will see a nature park near ponds, as well as a place of play that the neighbourhood envisions will have a grassy area with a picnic shelter, playground and sports court inclusive park for all ages.
“The vision is to really have it more than just your tots playground type of thing that you see pop up in some neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Kemp, a member of the Linley Point park committee, who adds the idea is to put in a sport court so families and teens can play hockey or basketball. “Really just having a full community park that everyone can enjoy all year round.”
The project, in partnership with Gyro Club of Nanaimo, has a $90,000 budget with city council chipping in $35,000 for playground equipment. Council also agreed to the name change for what was Linley Valley Drive Neighbourhood Park.
Dollars are first come, first serve, but it was recommended council give $5,000 less than what the neighbourhood group wanted. Two other parks are expected in 2017 and the program has a lower-than-usual budget. While the program saw a carry-forward from last year of more than $18,000, the typical $100,000 budget has been reduced by half with money going to public art in parks, according to Richard Harding, city director of parks, recreation and environment.
Coun. Wendy Pratt said she loves the proposal and is more than willing to support it. The Partners in Parks program is one of those “really wonderful things, very positive things” the community and city does, she said, adding she’s proud of the program and the citizens who’ve taken advantage of it.
Coun. Diane Brennan supported spending $35,000 because she said she intends to make the budget whole again.
“I don’t think this is the place to cut costs or cut services to people in neighborhoods,” she said.
Council will discuss restoring the original program budget at its finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday (Feb. 8).