April 24, 2014 1:04 am

Two popular Edmonton parks will soon see renovations

EDMONTON – A new 10-year master plan has been approved for two River Valley recreation areas, despite some concern from users.

The plan calls for $8 million worth of renovations which will affect Buena Vista and Laurier Parks.

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Construction on Phase One will begin in Buena Vista Park this summer and should be complete in two years. Initial work includes: expanding the off-leash area, creating a new site that is fenced for specialized dog training, new washrooms, renovations to the vacant youth house; and perhaps the most controversial – the paving of a three-meter wide trail running through the park.

“Bicycle trails throughout the river valley do not need to be paved and we do not want to have a paved freeway for bicycles,” argued PearlAnn Reichwein of Sierra Club Canada.

“The fast bicycles passing through off-leash dogs can potentially cause a hazard for the dogs as as for cyclists or pedestrians or slower moving traffic.”

“They don’t care about the park, the dogs, the children, the old people,” added Marcia Stewart, a concerned resident. “[Cyclists] will go faster just because they can.”

Phase Two would see an extra 100 parking stalls added to Buena Vista Park, which is a sore point for some, as well.

“They’re taking out trees and brush and turf area from in the park,” said Stewart, “and we can’t afford to lose that park space. Not to parking.”

Phase Two will also focus more on Laurier Park. It would see new playgrounds, river viewpoints and upgraded picnic areas.

City councillors will review the impact of the Phase One changes before Phase Two goes ahead.

“A lot of it is just really small little tweaks to the park that I think are just going to make it all around better,” Ward 5 Councillor Michael Oshry said.

“It’s going to maintain the essence of the park.”

With files from Ross Neitz, Global News

© Shaw Media, 2014

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