Borden Park is now open for visitors Local residents voice concerns in Bellevue Community League meetin

Borden Park’s upgrades are complete.

Improvements to the 20-hectare park include a pavilion with washrooms and vending machines, improved trails, and a band shell.

A new pool is slated for 2017. “We’ve moved into the design stage. The project is going ahead,” said Nicole Poirier, director of the city’s civic events and partnerships. The pool is the first in Canada to be chemical-free and use biological filtration.

“Borden Park is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city,” said a neighbour at the Bellevue Community League meeting. “We want to keep it as a place for everyone to enjoy the beauty of nature.”

But according to Charlene Roche, the city’s festival and events liaison, more than 17 special events have requested licenses to use the space this year.

Neighbours say that car shows, weddings, and even an international yoga event are acceptable. But one event brings more action than neighbours want. Sonic Boom, a music festival, is heading into its second year in Borden Park. On the September long weekend, indie rock and pop music will blast from noon until 11 p.m.

One 65-year resident noted,“I live one block south of where Sonic Boom was held. For three days, it was like someone was in my backyard thumping. Boom, boom, boom!”

Parking and parking restrictions during big events are ongoing issues. Although neighbours can request free parking to use Borden Park at these times, many say its parking lot should not be used as paid parking.

The city is listening, said Julie Stormer, supervisor of the city’s civic events. “We’re looking at technology to help solve problems such as parking and parking restrictions. To mitigate the Sonic Boom sound issue, we’ll suggest turning the sound down and moving the stage for the two-day event.”

Stormer explained that festivals want green space, not asphalt. Green space also lowers the possibility of violence.

Last year’s Sonic Boom added $18,000 to Borden Park’s revenues from ticket sales, in addition to its budget from City Hall. The money is earmarked for the new pool.

Dan Kliparchuk moved to the area recently. “It’s a vital and energetic place to live. I chose to move here because I like the activities, such as the concerts. There’s always something happening or something to look forward to.”

Graydon McCrea, an area resident for over 35 years, isn’t convinced. “I have concerns about the number of events and venues that these neighbourhoods can accommodate,” he said. “Commonwealth Stadium at 56,000 seats is the largest in Canada. Borden Park hosts crowd-generating events like Sonic Boom. Northlands has proposed a 140,000-person outdoor music venue adjacent to the park.”

McCrea expressed his concerns in March in an open letter to City Hall.

As he sees it, “Perhaps our communities have done enough. These events already generate noise and parking problems for the neighbourhood. I would appreciate if the City of Edmonton would conduct an independent assessment of residents’ opinions of these proposals. Everyone needs to speak up about the issues.”

TO VOICE YOUR OPINION

Call 311 or Charlene Roche at 780.496.4903 for comments about Borden Park events.

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