The District of Kent’s new gazebo will be making its permanent home in Schep Park.
During council Monday (May 27), staff brought forward the results of the gazebo’s location survey, which asked the public where they felt the structure, donated to the district by the Republic of Sarah film crew, should go.
Of the 107 responses to the survey, 42 said they wanted the new gazebo to be placed in Pioneer Park, preferably in the same location as the current, smaller gazebo. A distant second was having the new gazebo at Schep Park.
During Monday’s meeting, council members expressed their concern about replacing the current gazebo.
“I’ve heard that each time we add something new to the park, it makes it less attractive for filming crews to come in,” mayor Sylvia Pranger said. “That would be my only concern, because I think the filming companies do bring value to the community.”
According to director of community services and projects Jennifer Thornton, that had been a concern of staff’s as well. To deal with that potential issue, staff would install the gazebo on top of a wooden footing, which would allow the gazebo to be moved using a forklift. Film companies would then be able to remove the gazebo at their own expense.
Councillor Susan Spaeti also expressed concerns that the number of trees in Pioneer Park could damage the gazebo with their sap. The old playground had often been covered in sap, she noted, and “with the playground we power washed it, but we don’t want to be doing that with the gazebo.”
“I just worry it could get ruined,” she said.
In response to these concerns, Councillor Duane Post suggested the gazebo be placed in Schep Park, as there was more space and no trees.
“It’s not a close second, but it is second, and it’s a pretty good spot to put the gazebo,” he said. “Some of the people using it, there’s not a lot of shade, and it would be a good spot for it as well.”
Councillor Kerstin Schwitchenberg agreed.
“I just worry that Pioneer Park is pretty busy already,” she said.
The Agassiz 125th Sub-Committee had been in favour of putting the donated gazebo in Pioneer Park, as they felt the building could be used as a legacy project for the district’s 125th anniversary celebrations by transforming it into a bandstand. However, councillors felt the district could do more for a legacy project.
“I don’t see that gazebo necessarily as a legacy-type of project,” Post said. “I see it as something that was donated to us by a movie company, where it was cheaper for them to leave it than it was to take it away.”
Ultimately, council voted unanimously to place the new gazebo in Schep Park, and keep the current gazebo in its location in Pioneer Park.
It will cost between $4,000 and $5,000 to install the donated gazebo, with an additional $2,000 if council decides to add electrical for possible outdoor performances and other events. These costs can be covered by filming revenue received from the Republic of Sarah in 2019.