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Rec board throws support behind playground initiative

Posted on May 8, 2019 by Taber Times

By Greg Price
Taber Times

A group of Taberites is looking into possibly doing some fundraising for a new playground in Westview Estates.

Bruce Warkentin, a resident of Westview Estates of nearly two years, made a presentation to the Taber Recreation Board at its May meeting on the hopes of many of it residents to see the area become the site of a new playground for families to enjoy.

“I come not as a delegation necessarily, but as an informal group of citizens from Westview. There are approximately 170 homes there with a lot of young children,” said Warkentin. “I think there is definitely a need for a facility to have a playground there. I’ve canvassed the 170 residents there and there is a lot of support.”

The area in question in the Westview development that administration felt would work as far as physical space goes would be the green space south of the pond of Westview Boulevard.

“There is some apprehension about the current site that is proposed which is by the lake there. There is some concerns about children and safety and water,” said Warkentin.

Dawn Phillips, recreation director for the Town of Taber, added there are no regulations that state that playgrounds need to be a certain distance away from a pond, where kids already play around the area.

Warkentin inquired to the recreation board of what the next step would be in firmly establishing a land location for a potential playground in the area.

“Because I understand there is not that many other locations because the town controls a certain amount of land and the other stuff is with the developer. The proposed location for the playground (with the developer) is not in development until a later stage and at the rate we are going, won’t be for many years. I’m hoping to expedite the process in getting a park built there.”

Phillips confirmed the development in the Westview Estates area is currently in Phase Four in development plans, with a playground not coming to realization until Phase 10 if timelines are adhered to with regular development plans.

Warkentin was also under the impression, that if a fundraising group were to get organized for a new playground, for people to donate money in which they can be issued donation slips/tax receipts, it would be pertinent for the recreation board to recommend to town council that it becomes a project.

“Our thought process was if there was community support, rec board, then a motion to council to support this, then get some direction from council on whether this is a good location, and whether we should be doing some public consultation,” said Phillips. “From what I’m understanding, the two individuals I’ve heard from that opposed this that were adjacent from the playground and said ‘I bought my property not expecting a playground.’ Apparently, the south half is farmland and the north half is still with the developer. Maybe it’s construction in that form in the area that is still with the developer. I’m not sure what our exact options are, we are just looking for direction. If it becomes an approved project, then we can look at the organization doing some fundraising and then put some more thought in later of where and how.”

Warkentin noted, as families looked all over the Westview area, they discovered, there are not a lot of places available that are suitable for a playground.

“There really isn’t another location, despite the fact there are some traffic issues. Most of the traffic will be going thorough the T-intersection, so there is some potential traffic there, but making it a playground zone will slow down the traffic as well,” said Warkentin.

The Taber Recreation Board passed a motion unanimously to support the Westview Playground initiative in principle.

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