GRANT HAMILTON / BRANDON SUN
Planned and ongoing renovations at Rideau Park, in Brandon's east end.
Improvements to the tune of $700,000 are underway at Rideau Park, to transform the site into Brandon’s latest recreation hub.
Fathers Mike LeBlanc, front, and Justin Smith push their resepctive daughters, Hadleigh and Casey, in the new swings at Rideau Park in Brandon's east end. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Rebar is in place for concrete for the new splash park set for Rideau Park. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
A new, modern play structure was recently installed and construction crews are building what will be the city’s fourth spray park.
"It’ll be a destination park for all ages," said Bryce Wilson, the city’s manager of recreation development.
Wilson said the goal of the hub is to "promote healthy lifestyles, get people out in the community, get active and get to know your neighbours."
The new structure includes four tot swings and four "oodle" swings (which seat four to six children at once).
Construction of the spray park, which will feature a splash pad as well as a small wading pool, is expected to be completed this fall and ready for kids by 2014.
Earlier this summer, the paddle pool near the East End Community Centre was removed and the space has been turned into a parking lot to hold 20-25 stalls.
"We fixed up the old play structure that was there, we’ve kept that, so we put in new sand," Wilson said. "We made it a little safer, we fenced it in because the (new) parking lot is there."
For the winter season, the park now includes a protective berm at the bottom of the toboggan hill.
"It’s just to … misdirect the kids so they don’t keep running into the trees down the toboggan hill," Wilson said. "It was brought up to us by the community and the East End Community Centre board … so we have made a berm that we’ll seed later this year."
Also included in the plans is a performance stage to be built just off Lorne Avenue.
"We had a number of performances up at Rideau Park the past couple years … Music in the Parks and so forth," Wilson said. "It was a real good site, people loved going there, so that’s why we’re trying to incorporate the stage."
Most of the work should be done by the fall. However, the stage may have to wait until next year.
"We may just move some of the money that was approved this year to next year if we need to, but we’re still looking into doing the stage this year," Wilson said.
Some east-end residents weren’t too pleased to hear the plans to turn the park into a recreation hub, when the idea first came about a few years ago. Residents voiced their concerns that open green space would be lost to make way for the splash park and play structure. Others thought that putting a parking lot where green space could be developed was not a good decision.
When asked about the green space concerns, Wilson said the city "listened to the community as a whole."
"We did a number of community consultations on what the project would be," he said. "A number of people that attended were excited about the spray park … and the play structure was another amenity that people wanted to see."
Wilson said they sat down with the public, got their ideas and concerns and did a number of surveys.
"We listened to the community through our community consultation process, so I think we’re giving the best product to the masses of the east end."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 30, 2013