Isaac Olson, August 28, 2012
Côte St. Luc’s Imagination Park and new café in the adjacent Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) were officially opened August 19, with features such as electronic games for kids, WiFi access, terrace-style seating and a fire pit.
Six-year-old Jordan Merovitz was busy checking out the new play structures, be it an interactive electronic balancing game or the more traditional swings in the futuristic-looking playground located in behind the ACC on Parkhaven Ave. Centennial Park, he said, is his favourite CSL park and although at first glance the Imagination Park’s new structures seem a “little weird,” overall, he gave it a rating of “good.” His mother, Karen Merovitz, said her four-and six-year-old children could make good use of the play structures and she appreciates the soft rubber ground surface rather than sand. The park lacks baby swings, though, which would be good for her 16-month-old daughter.
Lisa and David Zlotnick said they appreciate having such a full-service public centre right in the city. From the indoor and outdoor pool, to the gym and even the library annex, they said their four children have plenty to do. The couple grew up in CSL, but has lived in Israel for the last four years. When coming back this summer to visit, they both agreed the centre was a very exciting discovery and they have been taking full advantage it. “The centre really impressed me so far,” said David Zlotnick. “You can really see the thought that has gone into this.”
While the kids’ play area is a worthwhile investment, men’s group members Jack Herscovici and Michael Piasky said the centre has been lacking a café and, overall, a more senior-friendly atmosphere. The café, with indoor and outdoor seating, is offering a full-line of sandwiches, beverages and desserts but Herscovici said as nice as everything is, the playground is finally opening only as the summer season draws to an end for local kids.
The park was slated to open in mid- July, but the project was delayed. Mayor Anthony Housefather wrote in an email: “We wanted to complete it properly so there was no concern that the park opened at the end of August.” The city worked to come up with an innovative concept, he said, and worked closely with third-party contractors to ensure it was constructed “according to our specifications. “I think the park is a wonderful and innovative addition to a complex that I am proud of,” the mayor concluded.
David Taveroff, the director of Parks and Recreation, said construction of the park will most likely be slightly under the $350,000 budget originally set by the city council, though the numbers are still being crunched. This capital budget expense is part of the annual investment the city allots to developing parks, he explained, and, this year, the city is also investing in Fyon Park. The $350,000 investment is different from that published in councillor Glenn Nashen’s “CSL Corner” column on February 14 of this year. Taveroff said the $600,000 mentioned in Nashen’s article was an error as the budget has always been $350,000.