If you take one look at Prince George’s latest and greatest park off Foothills Blvd., you may have never guessed it used to be a former 'party' area or dumping ground.
Thanks to the City and its Parks Division, the $1 million Nechako Riverside Park project has tidied the area and turned it into a beautiful setting for local residents to walk, jog, take in the sights, be with their dogs, and even board a canoe down along the river.
City Parks Supervisor Chris Bjorn said he was surprised to see the amount of debris that had to be removed from what he describes was ‘a bit of a party place.’
“When we started the project, we took out 30 or so loads of car parts, garbage, and all kinds of junk like pallets that were burned,” he explained during the official grand opening of the park today (June 12). “So [the garbage] just accumulated year after year. So getting rid of that and making it useable has made it a cleaner spot. Believe or not, the garbage cans around here now are usually pretty full and people are not throwing stuff around here anymore; it’s a bit of respect around it. [...] Now we have a park that’s pretty much set to an accessible standard.”
The completion of the park, 2.6 hectares in size, includes 200 metres of river frontage, a canoe launch area, several picnic tables, washrooms, and a blacktop parking lot accessible off of Foothills Blvd. (just beyond the bridge if you’re heading north).
“It’s a good start for sure,” said Bjorn when asked about trying to keep Nechako Riverside clean even after construction. “If we have people here using it as a park, then I think they’ll show a little more respect and throw stuff away properly. Everybody seems to be happy; I haven’t heard anything negative yet. There are joggers, there are dog walkers; it’s an off-leash park too, so you can enjoy it with your K9 friends as well.”
Mayor Lyn Hall is grateful the project came to fruition, addressing his concerns of public safety before the project came to fruition.
“Every time I cross the bridge, you see long line-ups of vehicles parked on either side trying to work their way down into this area, which wasn’t really a park at all,” he said.. “It was just access to a very great spot for swimming and rafting, so we took it upon ourselves and the help of [City] Park staff to establish what you see here today [...] which is really more of a park setting in just a phenomenal location.”
Nechako Riverside has a trail that weaves down from the parking lot to the river’s edge with lights set up for nighttime strollers.
Bjorn said residents will not see a lot of green for now as it’ll take a few years for the naturalized park to grow grass.
.@CityofPG Mayor Lyn Hall speaks to the accessibility of Nechako Riverside Park 🚗 He explains they wanted to make sure people weren’t parking along the road to get down to the river | #CityOfPG @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/ISbUsOhwGO— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) June 12, 2019