It’s been six years since work began on developing Fairview’s Davies Street Park from an ugly in-fill site into a community park, and public works supervisor Karen MacDonald couldn’t be more thrilled with the end result.
Looking out over the picturesque green space, which was financed partially by selling seven neighbouring lots along Ninth Street and was originally slated for completion in 2012, MacDonald said she feels pleased with the nearly complete transformation.
“Nelson Ready-Mix used to have their pit up here. The city and all sorts of different contractors would dump fill here from their excavations or whatever they had going on. It was so ugly, so it’s been interesting to watch this turn into a beautiful green space,” she said.
MacDonald, who bears a striking resemblance to the sitcom character Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, said the park is one of her favourite places in the city.
During the Star’s Wednesday morning visit she pointed out the expansive view of Elephant Mountain across Kootenay Lake and the peacefulness of the surrounding slopes.
A number of canine-led residents were using the adjacent walking trails, which were lined with city-supplied trees planted by Selkirk College students.
“These will all grow up into giant trees. There’s some birch and some dogwood. Different shrubs, white pine, fir. These are all native species,” MacDonald said.
“There’s some beech too. Then there’s a natural alder stand that is going to look great when it grows in.”
The park now has its own washroom and a gazebo for hosting picnics and small gatherings. The concrete foundation was poured last month.
On the opposite side of the park is a small boggy section that MacDonald and her crew plan to develop with cattails into a boggy water feature. Another landscaping quirk started as a bothersome rock outcropping, but has been developed into a bike jump and aesthetic feature.
“One thing I always have to say is my crew is fantastic. They work hard and they come up with great solutions,” said MacDonald.
“We had this big rock and we were challenged with how were were going to move it. Then one operator said why don’t we make it a feature of the park? I took it under advisement, thought about it, and eventually we put some more rocks around it and turned it into a bike jump. The kids would’ve done that anyway.”
MacDonald is committed to the park remaining a free-play park, which means it will not host organized sports and will be accessible to everyone in the Nelson community.
“Kids can run around, kick a ball, fly a kite, do whatever they want.”
MacDonald said the newly installed playground equipment—which includes a safer version of a merry-go-round, a swing that caters to those with mobility issues, and a domed play-structure that can accommodate a swarm of children—has been a hit with the neighbourhood kids already.
“We’ve got a couple daycares that come out. When they climb up in the dome it looks like a bunch of little spiders, just having so much fun.”
The city is currently selling memorial picnic tables, benches and trees. Each one comes with perpetual care from the city. A table is $1200, a bench $850 and a tree $250. MacDonald said those interested in purchasing one can contact the city.