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Roemer created a Facebook page in July that gained over 200 followers over the first few days, all with different opinions on her proposal. She got the idea after spending a day at Rotary Park with her 21-month old daughter, and wanted to have the same experience in Fort St. John.

“The reason I believe we need a park for toddlers and kids with special needs, is because we are just growing,” she says. “Anyone who’s been to the (Child Development Centre) and seen the kids that go in and out of there, there’s a huge demand for equipment for children with special needs as well as toddlers that are just learning the concept of a playground.”

She finds that many parks in the city are lacking appropriate equipment for toddlers and special needs children. While she likes the wide base of the stairs at Mathew’s Park, she finds the lack of guard rails on top of the slide “disturbing”. The same goes with metal slides that get too hot, and climbing bars that are spaced too far apart and can be fallen through. She also used the example of the spray park as a play space that is not suitable for children under seven years old, and suggests building a smaller, enclosed one for toddlers.

Roemer’s hopes for a “Super Park” are still in the preliminary stages, and she’s looking to the city to help provide space, as well as possible funding. She believes Centennial Park would be an ideal spot for the park, but Mathew’s and Kin Park have also been brought up. As for funding, in addition to fundraising, she also suggests looking to oil and gas companies for sponsorship.

“If I can get this on board now, then oil companies might be more inclined to donate bigger amounts of money to get the spray park and other parks built, so that later when maybe we’re not bringing in as much money we can just maintain them.”

She has also spoken to Area C Director Arthur Hadland, who says he would be willing to use some of its Fair Share funding towards the park if the city contributes as well. However, as Councillor Trevor Bolin pointed out, even if there was support from outside the city, the cost of maintenance would still fall on locals.

“The ongoing maintenance cost of this would be something that would have to be borne by the city,” he explains. “So, Area B and Area C give some money, all residents in both those areas use the park as well as the city, but then the city’s taxpayers are the ones that are paying to maintain that park.”

Council commissioned a report by staff on the matter for the next council meeting.

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