Proposal for new washrooms, solar-powered warm-up shelter, and new playground program forwarded to 2023 budget committee

Little Red River Park. -- Herald file photo.

After hearing a report on current developments in Little Red River Park, City Council gave their approval to forward next year’s proposed improvements to the 2023 budget committee deliberations.

Parks and Open Spaces Manager, Tim Yeaman, gave a brief presentation at Monday’s Council meeting outlining which projects were completed since the last Master Plan review, and which ones were still under development.

The list of 2021 accomplishments include the Parks Department taking over day-to-day maintenance within Little Red, improvements to the trail systems, ski hill and the signing of trails, and completion of a fire hydrant connection near the toboggan hill with hopes of providing their own snow making services within 12 to 24 months. 

The list of upcoming improvements includes the new Rotary Adventure Park and Zip Line that is currently under development. Yeaman explained that construction has been delayed due to uncooperative weather, but the contractor is doing what they can to complete the project without compromising the finished product.

Visitors will begin to see improvements to parking, roadways and lighting within Little Red River Park soon. Public Works and the Parks Department for the City of Prince Albert have been working together on developing a new parking plan, with construction set to begin shortly, says Yeaman. The toboggan hill will see 66 new parking stalls, Cosmo Lodge parking will get 38 new stalls, and the existing large parking lot south of the lodge will get 47 new stalls.

Yeaman mentioned that Community Services applied for a federal grant and is waiting to hear back about the outcome. 

“They are very interested in creating accessibility for the park, for users of the park, through the parking lots and the pathway systems,” he said.

A plan to develop a Resource Management and Emergency Preparedness Plan encompassing the entire park, Kinsmen Ski Hill, Cosmo Lodge, and all user groups that operate within Little Red is also in the works. Consultations with all levels of emergency services are required and user groups will be invited to participate. 

Other priorities for Little Red River Park in 2022 include the installation of three new prefabricated bridges for better public accessibility, providing a report to City Council in September on costs involved in hosting major events within the upper plains area of the park, and continuing partnership with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and Prince Albert Fire Department to work on a wildfire management plan. 

“In total for 2022, we’ll see close to a $3 million investment in the park itself,” said Yeaman.

Next year’s proposed initiatives for Little Red River Park consist of new compostable washrooms, a solar-powered, wood stove-heated warm-up shelter for the colder seasons, and consideration for a playground program once construction of the playground is finished. 

These future developments will cost a total of $210,000 and will be discussed at the 2023 budget deliberations thanks to Council’s approval of the recommendation. 

“I’m so excited about what’s going on there at Little Red,” said Coun. Ted Zurakowski. “This is a game changer for people.”