The municipality of Saint-Anicet celebrated the Semaine de la Municipalité with the official opening on September 15 of its new environmentally friendly intergenerational park, which is situated along the shore of Lake Saint-François.
Councillor Sylvie Tourangeau inaugurated the park in the name of Mayor Gino Moretti (who was isolating due to COVID-19) as well as the municipal council. There was a small gathering of around 20 citizens present, including past council members as well as residents in favour of – and against – the controversial installation.
Tourangeau noted the park fulfills requests from citizens for an intergenerational park, and she thanked the previous council for its belief in the project despite a rather bumpy road to its completion. An initial bylaw to fund the project was rejected by citizens after it was first presented by municipal referendum in 2020. A modified version of the project (bylaw 535) representing a projected investment of just under $562,000, including a $500,000 loan, was then passed by the council.
Funding for the project was received through the provincial government’s Programme d’infrastructures municipalité amie des aînés (PRIMADA). At the time of the inauguration, cumulative expenses for the park suggest the project has been completed well under budget.
The municipality specifically designed the intergenerational park, which is located to the side of the church and community centre, with the environment in mind. The installations were created using real wood and recycled plastics. Solar LED lampposts were also installed throughout the park, which also includes a stage and a lakeshore pathway. Paintings by students at the Jeunes Riverains elementary school in 2021 have been reproduced and installed along the pathway. Outdoor cardio and resistance machines have also been included in the design.
“It is a park in the image of Saint-Anicet,” said director general Denis Lévesque, while emphasizing that the project reflects many of the core values of the municipality, including environmental stewardship and community development.
Landscape architect Éric Labesse, of the Groupe Ici jeux which designed the lighting and playground, says it was a challenge to create a park that was concentrated on nature. He says the emphasis on the environment is in line with new trends in playground design. “Saint-Anicet is at the forefront of something that will be reproduced in the province,” he explains, referring to the emphasis on natural materials and a move away from bright colours and on plastic structures. The Coteau-du-Lac-based company Jeux-Tec Inc. was tasked with installing the modules as well as more urban elements, such as benches.
The park has already become a meeting place for Saint-Anicet families, with children happily enjoying the new play structures while others can appreciate a revitalised public space next to the lake.