MEDICINE HAT, AB — The city’s Parks and Recreation department is making adjustments to park maintenance based on usage.
The changes were brought forward Monday in an update presented to the public services committee.
“As part of our 2019-2022 operating budget, what we’re looking at is instituting is service level changes based on utilization for our parks throughout the city,” said James Will, general manger of parks and recreation with the city. “What that means is we’re looking at areas that are utilized less by the public, and looking at making some adjustments to the service levels and maintenance standards.”
The city currently divides park maintenance into different classes, based on usage. Sports fields and parks such as Kin Coulee Park receive the highest amount of usage, and maintenance to those parks will be unchanged.
The changes will primarily impact parks with moderate to low traffic and use, with minimal amenities and pocket parks, along with median and boulevard green space.
“Areas like Kin Coulee, larger community parks, would not see any service level reduction,” Will said. “I think it's important to note that throughout the city, it isn't going to be a drastic change throughout the city, it's going to be small changes, in a lot of little areas, with hopefully the least amount of impact on the public.”
The changes include reducing the amount of times certain parks are irrigated during the week as well as mowing the grass less frequently.
“One of the things that’s interesting to note about that is that it actually helps with the water retention,” said Will. “When we have a dry climate like Medicine Hat, this region, it helps when we have grass that grows longer, it retains moisture, and it helps us reduce our water cost as well.”
The goal of the changes is to save $200,000 a year on the parks maintenance budget.
“As part of our ongoing operations review, we always look at what our maintenance standards are,” said Will. “We have historically always maintained different maintenance standards for different areas of the city.”
Will says the department will monitor the impact of the changes through the summer.
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