Edmonton

Several Edmonton parks to get facelifts this year, city says

The City of Edmonton has released some numbers showing trail usage was up last summer.

Fourteen playgrounds are also set to be renewed or built this year

Gold Bar Park saw a big increase in the number of people using it during the summer months of the pandemic in 2020. (Save Gold Bar Park Alliance)

Almost four times as many people used the Gold Bar Trail last summer compared to the year before, the city says.

From June to September 2020, the trail had 196,958 users, compared to 53,744 during the same time period in 2019. 

Trail usage in other parks was up as well.

The city announced upcoming improvements to parks and other natural areas on Thursday.

Confederation District Park, Emily Murphy Park, Gold Bar Park, Hermitage Park and Glengarry District Park will all get facelifts this year. Fourteen playgrounds are also set to be renewed or built this year. 

Suzanne Young, the city's director of open space planning and design, said usage of some trails is up more than 100 per cent. 

"This means many of our parks and open spaces are twice as popular than they were prior to the pandemic," she said. "While we're thrilled to see more Edmontonians using our parks and open spaces, we aren't surprised."

Naturalization efforts are also underway this year. That means some areas, specifically 150 hectares of land around stormwater ponds, won't be mowed by the city to encourage natural growth. 

Ski club noticed increase in Gold Bar

Jim Rickett, president of the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club, said membership doubled last year and they had to ramp up the grooming schedule. 

"We've seen the trails as busy or busier than they've ever been," he said. "When we see that even greater use of the trail system, that makes us feel really, really good."

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