In 2017, the Griesbach Community League conducted a survey of residents to determine the priorities in a number of areas for our community. The resulting analysis was delivered as the 2018 Cultivating Community Spirit report. Residents clearly asked the Community League to “develop more playgrounds and activities in other areas (outside of the structures developed close to Major General Griesbach School)”.
In 2019, the Community League felt that we were in a position to explore building a playground in another area of Griesbach and struck a committee to lead our efforts. After discussions with the City of Edmonton, a proposed site in the North West corner of Roundel Lake by the RCAF Park was identified.
Before the Community League committed financial resources to this project we wanted to engage with our community to ensure a play area in this location was still seen as a high priority. We also wanted to identify how residents would use this new play area.
Provincial restrictions to combat the pandemic have curtailed the channels that could be used to engage our residents. The Community League opted to conduct an online survey in October of 2020 and let the community know about the survey in a number of different ways. We placed several notifications in our social media channels as well as on Griesbach’s more general Facebook pages. We also featured the survey in our newsletter and hand-delivered 100 paper notices to homes in the immediate vicinity of the proposed play area.
To extend our reach, we also had an in person meeting with representatives from the RCAF Park project. We wanted to hear how our proposed play area would be received by the RCAF and how it would fit in with their original design.
What We Asked
The survey was intended to gauge the level of support for this project and where that support would come from. It was also designed to provide feedback on what types of activities residents would like to see in a new play area and how they would like to interact with those elements. Determining the preferred uses will help us in the overall design and cost of any potential park area.
We met 2 representatives of the RCAF Park design team at the proposed site and discussed the project with them.
The online survey received 135 responses:
- 80% had children aged 12 and under,
- 79% lived within a few blocks of the new proposed play area, while
- 75% say that they visit the existing RCAF Park at least every 2 weeks if not daily.
What We Heard
Residents were overwhelmingly in favour of developing a play area at Roundel Lake.
- 76% or respondents saw a small park as a priority for the Community League, and
- 87% said that they would support this new play area.
The existing area around Roundel Lake is mainly used for walking and cycling (87% of respondents), while 43% say they use it as a play area. Most residents see the area as a quiet place to walk and enjoy the flora and fauna around the Lake. It is seen as a place that all ages can enjoy but would benefit by including activities specifically for children.
When asked about what a new play area could look like we received a wide variety of responses and fairly even split in how residents would use it.
- 76% wanted some form of play structure
- 51% looking for conventional playground equipment
- 49% preferring a natural play area with trees and rocks
- 50% to 60% were looking for seating and shade space where they could meet and socialize with friends and neighbours.
- The RCAF representatives were supportive of a more natural looking area that could accommodate the physical activities of children while providing a place for all ages to gather and socialize.
- Respondents also referenced the quiet nature of the current area and the amount of seniors that visit Roundel Lake to enjoy the scenery.
135 respondents tend to have 135 ideas of how this underused area by Roundel Lake could be developed but it is clear that the overwhelming majority would like to see the Community League create a play area here. The challenge will be designing something that will enhance the current park, provide a play area for children, combined with a meeting area for residents and friends, while not detracting from the aesthetics of the RCAF monuments and the natural beauty of the Lake.
The site that is being proposed is located away from the lake and very accessible to the rest of the neighbourhood. It is not currently developed and, with the proper placement of trees and benches, would enhance the park and provide a gathering space for residents of all ages to enjoy and create new bonds.