Kootenay Play Space Design and Build are the contractors for the project. Above, an example of some of their work. Kootenay Play Space file.

Public input sought for new community park on Swan Ave.

Community barbecue planned for this Saturday to present initial designs

The community in the area of Swan Avenue is hoping to build an adventure park at 201 Swan Avenue( just up the hill from Centex). Next Saturday, October 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., one and all are invited to a barbecue to launch the project. This community engagement session with launch the project with a focus on collecting input not eh draft design options that will be presented.

“The Kimberley Adventure Park is a new inclusive and outdoor based park project that is aimed at developing physical literacy in young children by having them engage in creative, adventurous play in a neighborhood setting,” said Todd Larsen, one of the organizers. “The park designers will be in attendance to showcase the designs and solicit feedback from attendees. We are expecting around 100-200 attendees. We will supply food, drinks and fun events for all ages to attend.”

With the support of the City of Kimberley, Healthy Kimberley, and funding from Columbia Basin Trust, several residents have been working hard to initiate plans for a unique park on a current green space. This space will encourage physical literacy, creative play, and community engagement.

The City of Kimberley owns the land and have endorsed the project with a commitment of staff time, labour, and equipment. Local businesses and industry such as Teck Resources have also shown support for this proposal. There is currently a paved basketball court on a portion of the property which is converted into a popular neighbourhood skating rink in the winter. The remainder of the land is a flat grassed area approximately 25 m wide by 80 m long. The central location makes it an ideal community gathering place for unstructured play, games, picnics, and other possibilities. City recreation staff have indicated that this model aligns with the Kimberley Recreation Strategy and can be used as a model for other neighbourhoods.

The group has received funding to get started on a design and implementation plan. An experienced natural play space design company from the Kootenays has been contracted to propose several site plan options with input from residents. It is preferred to build a ‘natural playground’ in contrast to a typical plastic or steel play structure. By incorporating natural materials such as logs, rocks, and earth berms, as well as creative elements such as simple musical instruments, playground users of all ages derive more all-around benefits than they would on one dimensional play equipment. These kinds of play areas engage more of children’s senses and curiosity and are more visually appealing.

Initial discussions with community members about this initiative have been overwhelmingly positive. There is a great need for a neighbourhood park to service several functions such as a place for neighbours to gather socially. A community working group has been formed to enhance the initiative, foster public input, and raise funds for park construction.

“Please join us on Saturday, October 5th from 11am to 4pm to learn more about the park, provide your input, and enjoy this great space,” Larsen said. More information can be found on the facebook page: Kimberley Adventure Park.

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