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Didsbury playground project gets $17,000 funding boost

Original project had been budgeted at $80,000 and was approved in 2021 capital plan

DIDSBURY — Town council approved a $17,000 funding boost for the Jets playground upgrade project outside the Didsbury Memorial Complex.

The move came by way of motion during the June 22 regularly scheduled council meeting.

The original project budget of $80,000 was approved in the 2021 capital plan. The strategic planning committee considered the project and made several recommended changes, including the addition of $2,500 for the cost of supervision/final inspection for a licensed playground installer.

As well, an additional $12,000 was recommended for the installation and replacement of some materials that originally had been planned to be reutilized.

“Fencing costs also includes changing the ball diamond outfield fencing to an eight-foot height along the north and west side of the site,” said chief administrative officer Ethan Gorner. 

Council approved the $17,000 addition to the playground project's budget, with the funds to come from the parks vehicle and equipment reserve. The total projected cost of the project is now $97,000.

In his monthly CAO report to council, Gorner added that delivery of equipment for the playground is anticipated in late August, with installation to occur  at the beginning of September.

The playground project included input from local students through the Pick a Playground initiative.

The initiative saw input from 144 participating students on the types of equipment they would like to see at the upgraded playground.

“The students identified the need for benches, picnic tables, and quiet spaces to hang out with friends and family as being important to this project,” he said.

Online council meetings will continue

Meanwhile, councillors decided that as well as returning to in-person council meetings starting next month, the meetings will also continue to be live streamed to allow remote access by interested residents.

“With the opening up of restrictions in the province, administration was asked to bring back a plan for council to start meeting in council chambers,” said Gorner.

“Administration has also received a lot of public interest in being able to continue to watch council meetings online with positive feedback with the functionality of the Zoom system.”

Electrical outlet plan OK’d

Council has also approved the installation of outlets on the light standards along 20th Avenue at a cost of up to $52,000.

“At the June 17 performance evaluation committee meeting, the committee agreed that the installation of power to the poles is required to have any kind of illuminated decorations going forward, and therefore are recommending that council approve to have power installed to all light standards on 20th Avenue,” he said.

The outlet project funds will come from the economic development reserve, and the outlets will be installed depending on Fortis’ availability, council heard.

Film funds will go to reserve

Following an in-camera meeting, councillors passed motions directing surplus rental revenues from film industry initiatives in town to go into the economic development reserve fund, and that administration explore future film industry opportunities in Didsbury.

Dan Singleton

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