BY BILL PHILLIPS
What’s the best way to determine where to build a park?
Look to where people are already recreating and build a park there.
That’s exactly what the city did with the newly-opened Nechako Riverside Park.
Previously, when river-floating season was underway in the city, Foothills Boulevard on the north side of the river would be jammed with motorists parking their vehicles while they floated, tubed, canoed, or kayaked down from Wilkins Park at Miworth.
Now, there is parking off of Foothills Boulevard and more.
“This is a really a jewel in our park system here in Prince George,” said Mayor Lyn Hall at the official opening Wednesday. “Foothills is a major thoroughfare going through the city and every time I crossed the bridge I’d see line-ups of vehicles on either side and people trying to work their down into this area which wasn’t really a park at all. It was just a great spot for swimming, rafts and tubing.”
So the city decided to make the area into a park. A highlight of the new park is the accessible trail to the river’s edge and there are numerous picnic tables, new parking, and washroom facilities.
Construction of the park began in 2018 and was done by Datoff Construction. The total cost was just over $1 million. The park includes developed and undeveloped land on both sides of Foothills Boulevard. The developed area, from the parking lot to the shore, is nearly 2.6 hectares and features just over 200 metres of river frontage.
“This is a great location,” said project manager Chris Bjorn. “The problem was it was a big of party place. When we started we took out about 30 loads of car parts, garbage, junk that was laying around and pallets that were being burned. Getting the road down here at an accessible grade was a bit of a feat … Now we have a park that’s at an accessible standard. It’s a great place to hang out and it’s getting busy.”