By Trevor Busch
Town council has allocated funds for the construction of an asphalt basketball pad in the Heritage Estates subdivision in 2016.
B.J. Fitch, a resident of Heritage Estates, had presented a request to the Taber Recreation Board at their May 5 meeting for the addition of an outdoor basketball court area to the playground in that residential subdivision.
According to administration, two other playground areas have similar basketball courts, but are located on the north side of Taber, with no similar facility located in close proximity to the subdivision. It was also highlighted that the existing playground in the subdivision appeals more to younger children, but offers little for older youth who might more readily utilize an asphalt pad for basketball or ball hockey.
“I’d like to see this done sooner rather than later,” said Coun. Andrew Prokop at town council’s May 24 regular meeting. “If it could be done this year, that would be great.”
Playground upgrades in general were ranked sixth in priority in the recent Recreation Master Plan, with upgrades and additions of equipment, but not specifically targeting the Heritage Estates playground.
Town resources would be required for the construction of the project, including building a base, applying asphalt or concrete, and the addition of basketball hoops. Some irrigation lines would require moving, as well as sod replacement. According to administration, the “rec department would be stretched for resources for building the base, due to other projects currently scheduled, as well as not having the larger equipment necessary”.
“We’re pretty tight with all the pathways and everything else, but we can have a look at it, that’s for sure,” said public works director Gary Scherer. “We’d have to look at the design and everything, but it shouldn’t take that long.”
No funds had been allocated for the project in 2016. Construction of an asphalt pad for the playground has an estimated cost of $13,766, based on estimates from the 2015 asphalt program.
“It’s a large subdivision here in town. And like you say, the kids are growing up, and there’s probably smaller kids there,” said Mayor Henk DeVlieger. “I think it’s fair that subdivision gets some attention, too. I think it’s worthwhile. It keeps the kids off the street, and from behind the TV, and gets them active. I think it’s a positive thing.”
At their May 24 regular meeting, town council voted unanimously (6-0) to add the Heritage Estates playground project to the 2016 capital project listing, with $15,000 to be allocated from capital reserves. Coun. Jack Brewin was absent from the meeting.