Frequently Asked Questions

Parkallen Park Redevelopment Project

Overall Project

  1. Why are we redeveloping our park?
  2. Who drew up the plans?
  3. How much is this going to cost?
  4. Who is going to pay?
  5. How is a decision made?
  6. When will construction be?
  7. How will this redevelopment benefit me and the community?
  8. Why are there pathways in the West side of the park?
  9. Why are you proposing a change to the family rink area?
  10. How big is the toboggan hill?
  11. Why does the park site plan show circular play equipment area’s southwest of the existing playground?
  12. Why can’t the new playground have wooden structures or plastic slides?
  13. Will the spray deck be concrete or the rubberized surface we have seen in other places?
  14. When and how is the water activated? What times will it run?

Overall Project

Why are we redeveloping our park?
In 2007 it was recommended to the executive committee to begin planning for re-development in the next 3-5 years as our community playground was entering the end of its lifespan. The equipment is rated ‘fair’ which indicates it no longer qualifies for major repairs. The city maintenance will do minor repairs only, and have the option of removing equipment if they become a safety hazard.

At this same time, the city had embarked on its city wide project to convert all community wading pools to spray decks to remove standing water health concerns. If there is no community enhancement of that project, our spray deck will have 6 simple ground sprays.

Parkallen has changed demographically quite considerably since the last time the community league consulted the residents regarding their park needs and wants, which was back in 1990 when the current playground equipment was installed. It therefore seemed prudent to ‘check in’ again as the engagement process necessary to replace equipment, enhance the spray deck etc is the same as the overall park design. We want to make sure our park is still meeting our residents and greater communities’ needs.

To date, we have launched the playground re-development project, formed a committee, and surveyed community wants and needs in a variety of formats. We are now very comfortable with the feedback that we have received from all our residents and park user groups through the emails, completed surveys, focus/walkabout groups and bus tours held in 2009.
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Who drew up the plans?
The park site plans were drawn up by Jim Black, a City of Edmonton Landscape Architect, well known for his creativity and expertise in developing children’s play areas. He has been involved with the design of several well known and well liked parks in Edmonton.

The Spray deck design and Playground design options have been created by city approved equipment suppliers based on the meetings and guidance from our park committee.

Everyone who participated in providing feedback last year shared what they did in the park and liked about the park (and wished to retain), features they would like to see added, and offered ideas to increase accessibility, safety and use of the park.

Accordingly, all plans reflect features and qualities voiced by participants:

  • Spray deck for multi ages with lots of ability to manipulate water sprays
  • Playground area with needed new equipment but retain feel, flow and play value
  • Covered eating & gathering areas by playground
  • West side of the park retain open areas and landscaping for unstructured play
  • Shaded seating areas – to read, play chess or just sit and watch
  • Bike paths and skateboard elements
  • Pathways to increase accessibility, and therefore, use
  • Artwork/historical displays
  • Gardens and landscaping enhancements
  • Re-sculpted toboggan hill to reduce congestion, increase glide path
  • Multi-season use of the family rink area

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How much is this going to cost?
Expenses will depend on the extent of the redesign and the choice of playground structures, spray deck features and park features. Once the plans are solidified we will be able to estimate preliminary budgets, determine with grants and fundraising what is affordable what may need to be phased in etc. Construction in stages will give us increased flexibility and time for additional fundraising.
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Who is going to pay?
First, there are some community league funds available through our regular casino profits. Secondly, the committee is looking at various grants (local, provincial, national), corporate donations, and our local individual efforts “Leave an Impression” fundraising events. We will also be applying for matching funds whenever possible. As we finalize park plans, the committee will be able to get some preliminary budgets, determine what is affordable what may need to be separated into construction phases. The spray deck and playground are the first and second priority as they need to be done. Everything else is optional and community driven.
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How is a decision made?
Along with everyone’s ideas, comments and suggestions provided through the survey, emails, events and open houses, other criteria is also taken into consideration:

  • costs and feasibility of features
  • city of Edmonton guidelines and requirements
  • supplier and project manager recommendations
  • long term costs of features (including upgrades, maintenance)
  • safety

The process to create the final plans is not vote based. The Park Redevelopment Committee will pull the suggestions together in conjunction with the above considerations and expert advice from our Landscape Architect and our Community Recreation Coordinator.
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When will construction be?
Construction will start in the spring or fall of 2011. Spraydeck and Playground are the first and second priority. Keep in mind, again that there are many factors involved which will influence this target date. We need to have funding in place, grant applications approved and co-ordinate with city schedules, supplier schedules and other projects going on in our neighbourhood such as the road and sidewalk renewal. We will continue to keep you posted in the Parkallen newsletter and through the website.
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How will this redevelopment benefit me and the community?
We need to keep our community thriving and vibrant. We have had the pleasure of hearing from many sources over the past year how wonderful our park and playground are. We have heard how it has influenced decisions for people to move into our community, visit our park, attend our local school, have functions in our park space and start or retain businesses in the area. Our goal is to make sure we provide the best park space we can for our residents and ensure that this ‘special’ community continues to be appreciated and valued for its remarkable uniqueness and its enjoyable living.
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Park Site

Why are there pathways in the West side of the park?
We want to make the park open for use to all residents in Parkallen and surrounding areas. Many do not use the park as they cannot get to certain areas of the park. Paved pathways are one way to increase accessibility for those who find it difficult to walk over grass. For example, those who:

  • push strollers or similar
  • use wheelchairs, canes, walkers, crutches or wheelchairs
  • have difficulties with vision

Why consider a 2.5 m (8 feet) wide path? Wide paths allow two-way passage, and provide space for people to safely pass each other. This wide pathway is an option, as is a narrower pathway. We are also considering the different materials available such as gravel, asphalt, concrete, woodchip, and a newer rubberized compound. We are happy to hear your comments and suggestions.
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Why are you proposing a change to the family rink area?
In hearing resident comments, the addition of a grass volleyball court, a fire pit (locked when not in use) and picnic tables allows for more functionality, more comfortable gathering area’s and more multi season use. At the west end some natural dirt paths with bumps and bridges are recommended to foster and encourage little rider skills and keep the bikes out of the playground and spray deck area.
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How big is the toboggan hill?
The toboggan hill will remain a similar height to what is there currently. The purpose to re-grading it (utilizing existing surrounding soil) would be to reduce user congestion and provide a longer slide path. Also in the plan would be to strategically plant some tree’s to reduce wind scour and keep snow on the hill (reduce bare spots).
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Playground

Why does the park site plan show circular play equipment area’s southwest of the existing playground?
These have been recommended to us by our Landscape Architect as additional area’s of play, to enhance the interest and creative movement of children around a playground site. These additional area’s could have some extra stand alone equipment which may require more space than available in the existing site. These are options and will be determined by community interest and cost.
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Why can’t the new playground have wooden structures or plastic slides?
City of Edmonton regulations are some of the most stringent in Canada which does limit us however it also gives us great comfort in the quality, safety, and low maintenance requirements of our final equipment choices. Wooden structures or plastic slides are not city approved (and maintained) equipment currently. There are also restrictions on material used for landing surfaces, slides can no longer be south facing ( as metal surfaces will heat up ) and various other regulations. As all the suppliers we are considering are city approved, our park will conform to all of these maintenance, access and safety standards.
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Spray Deck

Will the spray deck be concrete or the rubberized surface we have seen in other places?
Many people prefer the rubberized surface although the cost is at least an extra $20,000. There are pro's and con's to both, if we get the slide the rubber surface is required. The rubber surface comes in different colors. Cement is less expensive and does not heat up as much as rubber. There may be a recycling grant that we can use to pay for the additional cost of having a rubber surface. If you have an opinion, now would be the time to let us know!
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When and how is the water activated? What times will it run?
has a hand print or recognizable feature. When someone touches it the water starts. Most of the spray decks in the city are turned on from 9 am – 9 pm. We will be able to have the city set the timer for as long as we would like. ** please see www.mckernancommunity.org spray deck information for some excellent comparison data **
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