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At Monday’s City Council meeting, Council was presented with a report by City staff on the development of the vacant lot at 100 Street and 100 Avenue. Staff recommended the construction of an interim park at the site however some members of council were hesitant on the idea, and as such a decision on how to develop the space was put off until the next City Council meeting.

Councillor Byron Stewart expressed concern over having a park near late night establishments, and the extra stress that it may put on the RCMP.

“My concern with the hills and trees and such, is a situation of a park that use to be in downtown Grande Prairie that was located near bars. This space would also be near bars. It’s a space where we had a person who was killed just outside of this green space. In summer time we do have a number of persons intoxicated within our down town core.”

Trevor Bolin added that while a potential interim park may help bring people down town, the benefit would be limited. He said the area may also attract the City’s less fortunate given the location.

“The whole premise to that corner piece, and this goes back to elections when we were discussing this with the public is bringing people to the down town. Yes it will work for the coffee shops four months out of the year but I do have a concern with it becoming a homeless haven. As other businesses are taking necessary steps to prevent the issues they have, this becomes quite a large play field from nine o’clock at night until six o’clock in the morning.”

Council also discussed the possibility of planting sod and levelling the area off to make it more visually appealing in the mean time while an interim and permanent solution for the space is determined.

Any final decision on permanent use for the space will be determined at a later date after Council has examined further options.

The matter will be discussed further at the next Council meeting on May 25.

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