FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – City council was presented with the new designs of the Centennial Park Redevelopment at Monday’s Committee of the Whole.

Ernie Webster of IBI Group and General Manager of Community Services Wally Ferris walked council through the two proposed park upgrades. The key difference between the two drafts is the location of the Festival Plaza: in the first, the plaza is located in the northwest corner of the park, while the second option places the park’s focus on the plaza, which would be situated near the middle.

The two proposed designs also include an accessible playground, a play area geared toward older children, a permanent stage, and the existing wide open green spaces. Pedestrian access to the new park is also featured as a priority, as well as the integration of the new Rotary Spray Park.

Other key areas of discussion were seating, landscaping, seasonal lighting and public art. City staff reiterated that the designs focused on the fact that winter plays a big part of life in Fort St. John. “We realize that this is a winter city and the importance of lighting is huge,” said Webster. “It’s sometimes the first thing that gets chopped in the budget.”

The tentative budget would cost the city just shy of $4 million based the initial scope of the design which includes Centennial Park West End (a stage and large event areas), Centennial Park East End (outdoor play area and washrooms) and the Formal Garden area (reworking of existing garden, utilizing some of the existing elements and planning). Adding the optional elements such as the Older Children’s Play Area (climbing wall, natural landscape and plaza), 94th St./Museum Pedestrianization (Traffic bump-outs and pedestrian plaza by museum) and the 100th St. Plaza (Front of the park, main entry plaza to park-planting/seating/paving and parking pedestrianization) to the budget would see the total come to just over $6 million. This budget does not include the Festival Plaza’s estimated amount.

Acting Mayor Byron Stewart said, “I am very intrigued by the option in which the Festival Plaza is located in the Northwest corner. For events such as Canada Day, I feel that we could include the Plaza if its closer to the street corner and this option would allow for more space for residents in the community.”

Construction would begin in the spring of 2018 after IBI receives approval from the City and would take approximately two years to complete.

The full video of the Committee of the Whole can be found at