Calgary’s parks wish list exceeds available money

City council will make decisions this November which new park projects will go ahead, funded by a special program created for that purpose.

Some of the annual dividend paid by Enmax to the City of Calgary is placed in the Enmax Legacy Parks fund.

Cash from the city owned utility is then earmarked for new regional parks and to help pay for upgrades in others.

For example, money from the fund has been used for Century Gardens, Prairie Winds Park, and the new Haskayne Legacy Park.

A city council committee heard Wednesday that the fund is projected to have $71 million by 2026.

However, the infrastructure and planning committee was presented a list of parks projects worth $170 million that could be ready to go over that same period.

The committee’s chair, Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, said city administration will come up with a priority list for elected officials to discuss.

“We will have a conversation with Calgarians and amongst council as to how much funding we want to dedicate now and over the next four years to building the kind of city we want to build,” said Carra.

“Where does that money come from? And what kind of money are we going to be able to leverage if we have money available?”

Long delays

Two members of the committee said they have been waiting years for new parks in their wards.

Coun. Peter Demong said Priddis Slough regional park has been talked about for years but it has yet to find a way on to the funded list.

Coun. Andre Chabot said a new regional park in Marlborough has also been planned for more than a decade but the green light hasn’t been given.

“This is something that over the twelve years that I’ve been working on council, something that I worked towards only to find out that there’s actually really no funding for it right now,” said Chabot.

Some projects with cash previously approved from the Enmax Legacy Parks fund will see work done this year.

That list includes $5.7 million for the new Haskayne Legacy park in the city’s far northwest. A new access road to the park which will run through Rocky View County is expected to be completed as well as pathway connections and site development. 

The city has set aside $500,000 this year from the fund for planning of the new Seton Regional park in the southeast corner of Calgary.

This November, city council will vote on a new civic budget for 2023-2026.

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