New plan to develop Waskasoo Park

  • Oct. 24, 2012 3:14 p.m.

Red Deer’s citywide park has a new interpretive master plan. Waskasoo Park, which stretches along the Red Deer River from Fort Normandeau to the River Bend Golf Course, could see up to $3 million spent upgrading and developing the popular facility in coming years.

The almost 200-page report, prepared by AldrichPears Associates of Vancouver, was unanimously accepted by City council last week as a planning tool for the future of the park. However, the exact amount of money to be spent has still to be determined by council, but most improvements should happen over the next few years. The plan includes expansion of facilities and displays at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, a larger First Nations presence at Fort Normandeau, better signage, and perhaps a new web site. The previous master plan for the park is over 30 years old.

“It’s a win, win, win situation for everyone involved in it,” said Jim Robertson, executive director, who’s been involved with the park since 1985. He’s looking forward to possible additions like an outdoor children’s adventure park. Since the last plan, “We’ve seen huge changes in the City, and the world, and how things are done. It’s fun watching how things have evolved. We’ve become an education centre for everyone. It (the new master plan) is not going to happen instantly, it’ll be gradually phased in. It’s an evolution of what we already have, but it’s bringing us up-to-date, with more new media and such. It’s not the final word, more will be added as we go along and continue to evolve. I’m really looking forward to it because of all the great things coming into play.”

City councillors were impressed with the report.

“I was excited. Whenever people talk about Red Deer, they talk about our green parks and spaces. And to see a plan altogether like this is more exciting. There’s everything from kids to interpretations to technology. If Red Deer’s a great place to live now, which it is, it’s going to be even better when that plan is in effect,” said Councillor Dianne Wyntjes.

Councillor Lynne Mulder was equally pleased with the plan.

“I just marvel at it (Waskasoo Park) all the time.” She was especially impressed with the input and comments from local citizens and how well the plan reads. “I think it’s a really well done plan. It was an excellent read, I felt I was reading a book and I could identify with it. It made me proud to be a Red Deerian.”