A proposal to develop a section of Watrous Park to construct a privately-owned extended care facility will not be proceeding.. The city and the developer will, however, be continuing to explore an alternate location for the facility.
The proposal didn’t sit well with area residents who organized a petition against the plan.
The developer has been working with the city for several years with a proposal to construct a facility to allow for the long-term care needs of individuals with special care requirements. Such a facility would ideally be located near a hospital and would include care rooms, limited medical facilities, and offices for nurses and doctors. The Watrous Park site was considered this past summer.
The Watrous Park site was initially considered by the developer because it is city-owned land in the area of the hospital with sufficient space to allow for a facility of its size. The proposed purchase price of the land was at market value, which would offset the cost of relocating the lawn bowling green at Watrous Park as well as the playground.
When a developer is interested in purchasing parkland from the City of Prince George, the developer enters into a contract with the city, which is subject to a number of clauses, including multiple stages of public consultation, which must be satisfied before the project can go to a public hearing in front of council, let alone before construction would begin.
The first step in the process was to solicit feedback from the surrounding neighbourhood and the Lawn Bowling Club, which occurred this past fall. More detailed estimates for site preparation were also developed, given that the site had previously served as an outdoor public swimming pool and the pool’s old foundation would need to be removed. The developer has since decided not to proceed with the project at Watrous Park.
The city believes that an extended care facility is still needed within the community and so will continue to work with the developer to identify alternative sites.