Children cavorting in one of Red Deer County’s newest neighbourhood playgrounds might have a little bounce in their step.
Last year, the county approved the 86-lot Liberty Landing subdivision in Gasoline Alley. One of the requirements for developers is to build a playground for the families that will make the area their home.
Typically, the playgrounds are built with a mulch surface to take some of the “ouch” out of any falls by the little ones.
The developer proposed taking the playground up a notch by installing a rubber surface.
It was estimated that mulch will cost about $12,500 and a rubber surface $40,000. The county was asked if it was willing to cover the difference, $27,500.
County senior development officer Denise Bedford said the rubber surface will save the county the annual maintenance costs of raking mulch back into the playground and taking care of weeds, which must be controlled without the use of chemicals.
A similar rubber-surfaced playground was installed by the county in Springbrook in 2016 and has proven successful.
“Liberty Landing is considered a priority residential growth area within Gasoline Alley West,” Bedford told council.
When fully built out, the area is expected to be home to several thousands residents.
Coun. Jean Bota was in favour of the extra investment.
“The pluses outweigh the minuses,” she said.
Coun. Philip Massier noted the money will come out of a reserve fund built up by levies paid by developers.
Questions were raised about the cost of converting the county’s other playgrounds to rubber surfaces.
County current planning manager Treena Miller said the rubber surface was considered in both playgrounds because of the amount of use they will get.
“If you go to that Springbrook park it is packed with kids.”
The county is working on developing a set of standards for all of its parks and playgrounds.
“Right now, we don’t have any park standards.”