Prokop/Hunter excited for opportunities Westview playground bring

·5 min read

The Taber Westview park project originally began when a lot got lopsided during the housing development in the area. The lot wasn’t big enough to be used for anything large residentially, so the community came together and eventually the park was built. “It was kind of a site that had extra space that was created because there just wasn’t enough space to put a formal lot onto it so because of the development of the area that lot got lopsided and became an extra chunk that really wasn’t usable for the residents,” noted Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop. “That was kind of what spearheaded that particular cause and so they started that initiative and presented it to the recreation board and council. It was important for the enhancement of our already thriving recreational community and it only does that much more for our community. So that was kind of a no-brainer and we had to support that. As did the M.D and the provincial government.” Prokop also mentioned community spirit and community effort was there and it benefited the community as a whole. “It’s there and designed to better the community as a whole. Bruce (Warkentin) and Tod (Pickerell) are great ambassadors for our community in that regard. The Kinsmen have helped with several projects in Taber, but just having someone to bring a community together and bring it to council is important as well. It’s great to see that collaboration coming through.” “It’s all about providing a good standard of living for people,” added Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter. “The park is wheelchair accessible, so that makes it a little nicer as well and just having those types of recreational centres and places in communities just makes it so much nicer when families are trying to figure out where they want to live.” The Aquafun Centre was a big project that was headed by a community in Taber that demonstrated a need. It has just recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and serves as a large icon for what a community can do. “The playground at Westview is incredibly nice, and while there may be one or two playgrounds in Lethbridge that are better, Lethbridge is also a community of 100,000 people. I think what we did isn’t bad for a community of roughly 9,000. What we have going with that playground is phenomenal to me, and Taber and area residents should be proud of that. Credit to all involved and everyone that contributed,” noted Prokop. There was a bit of pushback on the Westview playground project on social media. There were people who believed the town only does things like this for the large, wealthy communities. Prokop however assured this is not the case. “We don’t target communities or are more likely to support individuals based on where they live. The old Lions Park on the south side was built around 50 years ago and had to have some stuff taken out due to safety reasons. Now, it’s about half as big as it used to be. Some residents asked me what they could do so I said the same thing I told Bruce and Tod — get together, send a letter or email to council together so we can bring it up as a council agenda item, or you can come as a delegation and we’ll talk about your project. Come with a vision and we can all discuss it. The residents I talked with in the Lions Park area were very in favour of this, but unfortunately, we got into the midst of the pandemic, but we are trying to kickstart that idea once again.” Cooperation between a municipal council, provincial or federal government members and a community is extremely important says Hunter. “There are some great projects out there that may just need a little extra help and that’s where those government grants come in extremely helpful. A grant like CFEP is designed specifically for those types of projects and they were able to utilize that. The new minister of Culture saw the need for it and he thought the idea was fantastic.” Prokop also noted council doesn’t always know everything that goes on in Taber. “We don’t know everything that goes on in Taber. If there’s a problem or something that somebody would like to see, there isn’t much we can do to help if we aren’t made aware. We try to cover a lot of areas and try to maintain the balance in the community, but if any residents have that kind of ask or question, then they are more than welcome to write a letter to council or come as a delegation. Or you could write it to the recreation board and if they deem it, they can bring it to council. There isn’t anything that’s off the table ever, and if someone has a potential wish list or an idea to bring forward as a possibility, then absolutely they can come and we can take a look at it. If it’s a practical cause or ask, then it may very well become another great contribution to the community.” Projects like the playground at Westview are important community contributions to Taber, according to Hunter and Prokop. They say it shows how collaboration between community members is extremely important and something that should be done more often. “It’s a huge positive,” said Prokop. ”Particularly if it's obtaining grants, not that someone can’t get a grant on their own, but it's much easier if it’s a collaborative effort. Whether it’s the provincial or federal government they really like to see that collaboration. There are so many possibilities, never say never.”

Kenyon Stronski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting