Eagle Mountain Park will remain open to public during weekdays after new school is built, city says

City had previously suggested residents would be barred from Abbotsford park during school hours

The public won’t be restricted from the use of Eagle Mountain Park’s field or walking path.

With a school being planned for an adjacent property, the city and school district are negotiating an joint access agreement to enable students to use the park. As part of the process, the city surveyed residents this spring about their usage of the park. In that survey, respondents were told that once the school is constructed, the park would be used by students during school hours. That would mean access to the park would be restricted for the general public between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each school day, the survey said. Access to the popular walking path would also be restricted.

Residents of the neighbourhood panned the idea, with the vast majority of respondents expressing dismay at the suggestion.

“This is unfortunate as the park was a major draw for us when we moved here,” one person wrote. “Where will the greenspace be available for residents on the mountain during the day then? Will the city make available new park space in the yet undeveloped side?”

RELATED: Access may be limited to popular Abbotsford park once new school is built

This weekend, The News reported that council was set to be briefed on the issue. A staff report said: ““The shared use of facilities increases opportunities for participation in recreation by allowing community access to school amenities at all reasonable times when not required for educational purposes (e.g. after school, evenings, weekends, and holidays) and allowing student access to city facilities during daytime hours when utilization by the community is typically lower.”

But there will be no restrictions on the public’s access, council was told Monday.

“At this time I can report that the city and the school district have worked out a solution to the issue of public access,” said Mary Morrison-Clark, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture.

Negotiations continue, but council clarified in its vote that it won’t endorse restrictions to the park’s field, nor its walking path.

“We had good engagement on this and overwhelmingly the public was not impressed with us that we weren’t even entertaining,” Mayor Henry Braun said. “It’s a clear understanding with council that we don’t want any prohibited access to the public because they’ve been using it for 25 years and it seems odd to me that we would actually do that.”

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