The Northeast Regional Park Master Plan has been endorsed by Airdrie City Council, which will allow for the tendering of construction drawings for quotes for the first phase only. 

A summary of the Master Plan states that it is meant to be, 'a comprehensive, long-term blueprint that outlines Council's vision, goals, and actionable steps for developing a new 185-acre regional park in Airdrie’s northeast quadrant.'

"The goal of the master plan is to guide the ultimate development of the park encompassing a holistic approach that will meet Airdrie’s long-term outdoor recreational needs while respecting and honouring the ancient and recent history of the land and its existing landscape and habitat."

What amenities will the park offer and where will they be?

The west portion of the park is meant to focus on civic events, including:

  • Amphitheatre and events space with seating, picnic areas, a permanent stage and bandshell.
  • Entry plaza that incorporates seating, washrooms, accessible /inclusive play, community gardens, wayfinding, kiosks, trail system trailhead, skating loop, and staging area for walkers, joggers, and skiers.
  • Parking, transit stops and supporting infrastructure (electrical and lighting).
  • Berm and landform that provides natural tiered seating and protection from prevailing winds. 

The centre of the park is meant to focus on nature, trails, education, as well as Indigenous culture, including:

  • Preservation of existing landscape with a focus on peace, healing, tranquillity, and an educational experience.
  •  Accessible trail network originated from existing trail and driveway alignments (to minimize tree removals).
  • Space for indigenous games, ceremony, filmmaking, equine activity and medicinal, and foraging gardens.
  • Supporting infrastructure (lighting on trails), storm pond (future irrigation source /pleasant park amenity) and parking on the north edge.
  • Alternate location for a future Memorial Tree Grove / Walk and Interpretive Boardwalk over the pond.'

The east side of the park will focus on sports and recreation, including:

  • Multi-Purpose Sports Fields that are adaptable for soccer, lacrosse, Canadian football, rugby, cricket,
  • Baseball Diamonds (one Midget/Adult tournament standard).
  • Multi-use game courts for basketball, pickleball, tennis and other games.
  • 18-hole Championship level disc golf course and space for a “sky walk” amongst the mature tree canopies.
  • A central hub for gathering with accessible play, splash pad, picnic tables, kiosks, washrooms, and space for food trucks. Potential space for an off-leash dog park to the west of the sports fields.
  • Parks & Operations Depot, storage yard and a maintenance route for access to infrastructure.
  • Supporting infrastructure including extensive parking, lighting, servicing and connecting trails.

The northeast portion will be a 'special study' area, including:

  • Potential location for a Memorial Walk and community gardens.  
  • The potential to relocate the Airdrie BMX Club to the Park increases tourism revenue and incorporates a publicly accessible Skateboard Park and Pump Track, creating a world-class complex. 

However, it was underlined in city documents that the implementation of the entire plan will take place over at least 10-15 years.

"The full build-out for the park has been broken into seven logical phases, each with its own set of goals, objectives and list of proposed amenities and infrastructure requirements."

The phased approach is meant to break the project down into manageable stages.

"...the City and all the interested parties can effectively track future progress, allocate resources, and adapt to changing circumstances, ultimately leading to the successful realization of the master plan's vision. The cost estimates provided for implementation are detailed roadmaps, delineating the specific tasks and resources required to complete each phase."

Arcadis Professional Services representative, Ernie Webster presented to Council on Tuesday, discussing the various aspects of the plan.

"The actual allocation of space within the Regional Park remains on track to what the vision was for the park; there isn't any change to that."

adaA schematic design of the Northeast Regional Park was presented to Council on Tuesday. (Graphic credit to City of Airdrie)

Webster underlined that trails are a large part of the park.

"We base the trail network that we designed on existing surveyed routes to avoid taking down trees and construction and maintaining that easy access to the center of the park. Also, with a focus on accessibility, the trails are proposed to be either asphalt or the narrower trails that are in the more naturalized areas, to be compacted gravel so that wheelchairs can still access the site."

There will be three areas for inclusive play, which Webster said is an opportunity to utilize the existing woodland and trees for something unique.

"There are ideal opportunities to explore really interesting tree walks and playgrounds that are integrated with nature. And rather than just kind of off the shelf, standard equipment."

Webster said that on the topic of dogs in the park, there was much feedback in previous engagement sessions.

"We recommend that in the early phases, we have to accept people will bring in dogs, but perhaps that has to be in a very controlled way at the beginning; when it's just for paths that as you'll see, from the phasing strategy, to develop from west to east," he explained. "We're a bit hesitant to have off-leash areas in the west because of the conflicts that can occur with wildlife. "

He added that Indigenous groups also expressed concern over the issue.

"As you'll see, in the east end, there are spaces that could perhaps be used down the road for off-leash areas, as demand for that grows, and also more in keeping with the more active east end of the park."

However, Councillor Chapman did underline that what was presented was conceptual. He also asked about previous renderings that included space for a campground on the east side of the park. Webster explained that during engagement sessions, many people were not particularly enthusiastic about a campground.

"When we laid out a reasonably sized campground in that location, technically [it's] problematic... because the trees were creating hidden spots that people had concerns about the safety. To have a reasonable amount of camping stalls, and bearing in mind accommodating large RVs... It didn't sit well to have a mass of camping to the east of the trees, because bearing in mind, the adjacent use of that - is probably going to be a community of houses right next to that road."

City documents outlined several phases for park construction. 

  • Phase 1: Consists of approximately 22 acres of the park and includes a paved pathway loop, skating loop, community garden, gravel parking, temporary parks operations and washrooms, benches, picnic areas, kiosk and an entry plaza with the opportunity to display public art.
  • Phase 2: Includes additional parking, inclusive playground, seating and picnic areas, Indigenous ceremony/powwow/games area including a vegetable garden, learning meadows with interpretive signage, an extension of pathways throughout the park including paved regional bike path and gravel trails, seating area and viewpoint and kiosk/signage point of interest for the bomber crash site.
  • Phase 3: Includes Arts/Culture/Event space with stage and amphitheatre seating, additional parking on the west side, storm pond/wetland with a seating area and viewpoint, natural and inclusive play/picnic area, disc golf course, warming hut, firepit and washrooms and the addition of parking on the east side.
  • Phase 4: Includes additional parking on the east side, food truck and picnic area, four baseball diamonds, the hub (picnic shelter, kiosk, washrooms, splash park and playground), two multi-purpose recreation fields, ice rink/winter activity area, trailhead and staging on the east side, history of the land kiosk and parks operation depot.
  • Phase 5: Includes additional pathways to the west entrance, sensory play/alternate location for the community garden, two multi-purpose recreation fields, additional parking on the east side and a special study area to be determined.
  • Phase 6: Includes two multi-purpose recreation fields, basketball/multi-use games courts, flex/practice areas, tennis and pickleball courts and a natural and inclusive play area.
  • Phase 7: Includes two multi-purpose recreation fields, a community garden on the east side and a potential location for a memorial tree grove. 

"...  However, funding is not yet allocated for Phases 2 to 7 in the 10-Year Capital Plan. Council may choose to modify the order of phases and/or timeline through the Capital Budget process."

Construction of Phase [one] is scheduled to begin in Q2 2024 with an estimated completion of Q4 2024.

"The remaining regional parkland will continue to be leased for ranch and farm activities until the next phases are developed and will not be open to the public."

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