By Trevor Busch
The Town of Taber is pushing forward with improvements to Wailen Park to address a number of deficiencies that had been identified with the current state of the area.
At their May 23 regular meeting, council had authorized funds to address mitigation of deficiencies at Wailen Park in the amount of $35,022.47, and requested a report from administration on feedback received and a strategy to deal with the deficiencies. Recreation, public works and planning and economic development met to discuss various options, and a survey was developed and distributed to residents of the area, to which 11 individuals responded.
According to administration, the public utility storm management dry pond, more commonly known as Wailen Park, has a number of deficiencies that are creating issues in terms of safety, maintenance, and overall function. These deficiencies include the graveled wheelchair ramp, beach volleyball court, and overall design of the area.
Coun. Jack Brewin inquired if options other than a storm water holding area might be feasible for the park, but planning director Andrew Malcolm suggested this wasn’t possible.
“I believe it’s designed to hold in the event of a major storm, and its been engineered that way,” said Malcolm at town council’s July 17 regular meeting. “So the size reflects what is needed for a 100-year storm capacity.”
According to administration, a security deposit was taken as part of a development agreement between the Town of Taber and 13004258 Alberta Ltd. (Wailen Developments), with the understanding that the security would not be released by the town until all requirements under the agreement have been met by the developer. In a letter dated Aug. 24, 2014 the developer was notified that all deficiencies were to be addressed within 30 days. A follow up letter dated Oct. 7, 2014 indicated that as there were no observed improvements to the deficiencies, the town would retain all security being held. As of March 31, 2017 this amount stood at $35,022.47, which has been held in operating reserves for the purpose of repairing deficiencies with Wailen Park.
Phase 1 of the project will include removing the existing volleyball court structure, removing the existing graveled wheelchair ramp, removing seven large rocks located in the southwest corner, re-sodding the volleyball area and any areas damaged by construction, and installing a new irrigation system. Phase 2 will consist of planting trees, purchase and placement of two mini-soccer nets, and the installation of picnic tables.
“I don’t know why we continue to make holding areas in the parks, because it always seems to come back to bite us — the grass gets wrecked, or this or that, there’s maintenance issues — when we’re doing stuff like this we really need to listen to our staff that has to maintain this stuff,” said Coun. Randy Sparks. “All the sudden everyone wants flowers and stuff like that, then we have a flood situation, all of the landscaping is wrecked, and then everyone’s mad at the town because they haven’t maintained it.”
Following discussion, town council voted unanimously to support Phase 1 and 2 in the Wailen Park Deficiencies Repair Strategy, and authorized administration to proceed with the project.
Phase 1 and 2 are scheduled for completion before the end of summer 2017.