By Rizwana Shaikh, Federation of Calgary Communities
The Northern Hills Community Association (NHCA) refuse to let a lack of funding stop them from giving their residents what they want in their green spaces.
When Calgary Parks surveyed their playgrounds in 2016, it turned out too many needed replacing and there wasn’t enough room in the Parks budget to accomplish that. There were at least four playgrounds in Coventry Hills and one in Harvest Hills, that were flagged, and after a closer look, it turned out all 14 Coventry Hills parks would soon need help.
Moraig McCabe, the executive director of NHCA at the time, decided to engage her community’s residents by putting a call out for help. The initial feedback resulted in the creation of the Harvest Hills Hub, which will be an outdoor social area more inclusive of all age groups, rather than a simple toddler playground. The hub is expected to be completed this summer.
“The Harvest Hills Hub was a major undertaking, and I thought, ‘I can’t do this, 14 times,’” said McCabe.
She decided to combine all 14 parks in Coventry Hills into one big project and “Creating Coventry” was born. A collaboration with Vivo kick started the project by gathering data and more information on the park spaces. Numerous consultations with residents were held where people gave feedback on what they want in their parks and more importantly why they want it.
“It’s a really exciting project,” McCabe says, “I’m proud that we actually managed to get residents out and get them involved,” she added.
The first park in Coventry Hills that will be renovated is the Roundabout park, which will feature a basketball court that can convert into an ice rink for year-round use. Some work for the basketball court is hoped to begin this summer.
Creating Coventry is a long-term plan which will be sectioned into four-year slots to efficiently complete the parks and pathways. All 14 parks will feature different types of activities, including community benches, natural playgrounds, dog parks, basketball courts, and many more. The next step in this project is to activate their current park spaces with eight different events on every Saturday this summer. These events will feature pool parties, outdoor crafts, and a ton of family fun.
*Photos provided by the Northern Hills Community Association