City building three permanent sliding hills

A pair of Prince Albert residents slide down a hill at Little Red RIver Park in this file photo from Dec. 31, 2016. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert children will have three more spots to slide next winter.

During Monday’s meeting, city council approved the creation of three new permanent sledding hills in the city for a total cost of $24,000.

The hills came out of a request from Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp to pile plowed snow at parks for use during the winter months.

City administration looked into that request and determined that while possible, there was a risk that the plowed snow could contain debris such as garbage, grass, branches, ice, salt or rocks, and that the cost to haul snow and the use of heavy equipment were concerns.

The quality, quantity and consistency of snow each winter season were also flagged as concerns when administration met to discuss whether the idea was feasible.

Administration recommended that the city not attempt to bring snow into city parks to create sliding hills.

Rather, they looked at creating permanent hill structures in some locations which would provide year-round play for kids of all ages.

“With a permanent hill, we would be reducing the concerns with hauling snow each year and ensure that we have solid infrastructure in place year-round in which to create sliding hill or play opportunities,” administration wrote in a report brought before city councillors.

“By building permanent infrastructure, we would be reducing the concerns with contamination and foreign objects that may be embedded in the snow, as well as eliminate the concerns of damaged infrastructure due to heavy equipment on those surfaces.”

The estimated cost of $8,000 per hill comes from hauling fill material and shaping the hill, adding topsoil and seeding and temporary fencing until grass can grow.

The hills wouldn’t create additional liability concerns, the city added.

The first three hills will be built at Nordale Park, the old Angus Merasty School Location and Southwood Park. Future sites will be considered in future budget deliberations, city administration said.

The total $24,000 from the project will come out of the fiscal stabilization fund, as it isn’t currently funded under any other 2021 projects.

The hills would add to the existing 15 toboggan hills, with potential future sites including Elks River Park in the east and Mair Park in the west.

Council reacted favourably to the proposal and voted in favour of it after a short discussion.

 “It’s going to be a winter toboggan hill, but in the summer, little kids on bikes are going to be riding up and down,” said Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick.

“It’s enhancing our parks. It’s about making our entire city better. It’s money well spent.”

Ogrodnick noted that anyone can travel to any of the sites in the city that offer recreational activities. He added, though, that he likely won’t personally be sliding down the new hills next winter.

  • With files from Jason Kerr