Accessible playground features, looping paths and exercise equipment are among the many upgrades on the way for Horner Park in Saanich.
On July 6, the district closed down most of the property to start the planned upgrade at the park near the University of Victoria and Mount Tolmie. Horner Park hadn’t seen any changes in more than 20 years, said Julie Lommerse, a park planner and designer for the district. Work is expected to be completed sometime in October, she said, noting that with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some parts of the project have been on hold.
Things are starting to look great at Horner Park! New playground with accessible features being installed. Larger sport court being poured. Can't wait for it to open!#SaanichParkshttps://t.co/EnESmYmfDE pic.twitter.com/983blAv0XR
— Saanich Parks, Recreation & Community Services (@SaanichParksRec) September 2, 2020
The upgrades align with Saanich’s Older Adult Strategy and the Youth Development Strategy which seek to engage both age groups in meaningful ways. Lommerse noted changes to the park include the addition of “universally accessible” playground equipment, two looping trails accessible to folks with varying levels of mobility, solar lighting on the main path, increased seating and picnic tables, an interactive sign to be made in partnership with the Mount Tolmie Community Association and nearly 40 new trees to “naturalize” the area.
Facilities meant to engage youth aged 13 and older will also be part of the upgrade, Lommerse said. Park-users will have access to exercise and endurance equipment along with a double ended basketball court. She also noted that the existing baseball diamond will remain.
“The focus was on adding more facilities for older adults and youth” as the park was already popular with young families and dog walkers, Lommerse explained. “It’s going to be fantastic.”
The washrooms are also being renovated and will be available for public use seasonally once the park reopens and the hours of operation will be announced at that time, Lommerse said.
As of Sept. 3, a small corner of the park remains open for use but will eventually close as other parts of the upgrade project get underway, Lommerse said. Park-users are advised to watch for signage and stay out of closed areas.