Residents of the McKechnie Road area in Armsrtrong want a park and playground.

Residents of the McKechnie Road area in Armsrtrong want a park and playground.

Petition aims to get Armstrong kids into play

Residents of the Heritage Park development want a park

Residents of an Armstrong neighbourhood want to get their kids off playing in the streets and into a park.

A petition with more than 50 signatures from residents of the four-phase Heritage Park development – which includes McKechnie Drive, Atkinston Place and Rankine Place – was presented Monday.

The petition calls for council to use developer contributions to purchase a lot in phase three (currently under development) to build a park/playground for the community and families in Heritage Point.

“This is money already dedicated to the city for the development of parks where the developer has chosen to contribute money at the time of subdivision instead of dedicating parkland (equivalent to five per cent of the subject land),” said petition presenter Carly Payne.

Residents brought up the lack of park during a council meeting in September where an adjacent property was rezoned, and heard from councillors that the lack of parkland and greenspace in the development was a concern.

Payne said children, dogs and families, currently use an empty field as a place to gather and play, to keep the kids off the streets where traffic is a concern.

“This is a tight-knit community where neighbours gather on the street and organize barbecues and block parties, children ride their bikes, scooters, skate boards and play road hockey,” she said.

“Having a park will not only give children a place to play but it will be a gathering place for all ages” (the residents are hosting a Halloween celebration Sunday afternoon and invited mayor and council).

Having a park in the development, said Payne, will increase property values and make it an ideal place to purchase a home.

More than 60 kids under the age of 16 in the neighbourhood with more to come with the completions of phases three and four.

“The safety of these chldlren is a priority,” said Payne.

“Having a dedicated space to play will keep them safe and off the road where they currently play. Traffic is already a major concern where the posted speed is 50 km/h, and having a dedicated park will not only increase the safety of the children but the drivers.”

Mayor Chris Pieper said council received the petition for information, and that his group has heard the residents’ concerns.

“Some of your points I agree with,” said Pieper, adding the four-stage development has created problems. “We have to look at the whole site. As for purchasing a lot, we’d really have to look at the overall plan for the town and see if that’s what we want out there or maybe there’s something else.”

The greenspace and park for the development is not in the city’s official community plan.

Council said it will move forward with discussions on the petition. They do have money available in a reserve fund, and will take the residents’ input into the 2017 budget deliberations.