Regional district seeks community input on Hagel Park

The Strathcona Regional District wants community input into a replacement for playground equipment that poses “safety risks”

The Strathcona Regional District wants community input into a replacement for playground equipment that poses “safety risks.”

The play structure at Hagel Park, which is located off of York Road in Area D, is nearing the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced.

But before doing so, the regional district wants the public to share its ideas for a new playground.

This Saturday the regional district is hosting a barbecue and public input session from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the park. The public session was recommended by Area D Director Brenda Leigh at a regional district board meeting in March.

The $120,000 project (which includes removal and replacement of the play structure) was moved from the 2016 budget to 2017 after Leigh said she wanted to consult with area residents.

“I really think we have time, one year, to replace the equipment and consult the community on what they want to replace it with,” Leigh said at that meeting.

The playground equipment was built in 1997 by community volunteers and parts of the wooden structure were identified as a safety hazard by the Municipal Insurance Association (MIA) in 2014 and, most recently, by an independent playground inspector last February.

Aniko Nelson, the regional district’s parks and planning manager, said both reports “identified some safety risks” but the regional district has tried its best to mitigate them by removing parts of the structure. The MIA report revealed that protective barriers on the equipment were not at the required height and that gaps between the chains on a wobble bridge were a head entrapment and that the timbers on a log bridge were rotting, split, weakened and flex under adult weight. Since March, regional district staff has been working on a replacement plan for the play equipment and Saturday’s public session will form that plan.

The event will kick off with a barbecue, followed by design activities. For those unable to attend the event, a survey is available at: strathconard.ca/hagel-park until Sept. 30.