Transition Prince Rupert was looking for 30 volunteers and they have 40 signed up to take part in Community Build Day for Mckay Street Park.
Last June, the project won enough votes in the BCAA Play Here contest to win $100,000 to revitalize the park. Since then, president of Transition Prince Rupert, Ken Shaw, said they have looked at different designs for the playground and settled on one that would be suitable for North Coast weather.
“There’s been a lot of worksite preparation. We’ve cleared alder trees. The old baseball diamond and the fence was removed,” Shaw said.
The area has also been leveled for the playground that will arrive this week. On April 7, the group of 40 volunteers will help assemble the equipment and spread the pile of wood chips around the play area.
On Saturday, they will pour the concrete and set the posts. Following the installation, there are a couple of willing volunteers who will watch over the site for 12 hours.
“It’s really important that it solidifies and there’s nobody playing on the equipment too early, or any vandalism, so a few people are going to spend the night here and watch over the place. We have volunteers for that. You can always drop by and bring them coffee,” Shaw said.
Some residents have questioned why volunteer and in-kind labour is allowed for Mckay Street Park, when labour for Mariners Park had to be covered by several partners, and the Lions Club had to fundraise for approximately $20,000 to pay for unexpected scaffolding labour and materials.
City manager Robert Long said in an emailed statement: “Because we are in a labour contract with CUPE Local 105, when volunteers wish to work on any city assets, it is our practice to request the support of the union. There are a series of legal and safety requirements that must be met prior to city management forwarding a request on to the union.”
Mckay Street Park preparation work was done at no expense by city approved and insured contractors and the volunteers on Saturday will be overseen by insured contractors.
Once the playground has been installed, Transition Prince Rupert is applying for more funding to continue with the next phase of the park, installing the dog park and doing the landscaping.
For dog owners who once used the Doug Kerr Field to run their pets, the new fenced-in dog park is expected to be ready by the fall.
“The original design for the Mckay Street Park includes a linear dog park. The idea is that it will run alongside the playground and the upper side of the hill there. They will have a nice long park that’s fenced where dogs can run,” Shaw said.