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PARDS, Evergreen Park looking to expand onto County land

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Two local organizations are hoping to sublease some land from the County of Grande Prairie. It has approved both of the requests from the Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society and the Grande Prairie Regional Agriculture and Exhibitions Society, better known as Evergreen Park, and has applied to Alberta Environment and Parks for a final sign off.

PARDS currently sits on 55 acres of Crown land is looking to take up an entire quarter section, or 160 acres of land. Executive Director Jennifer Douglas says the society would like to fence in the area and expand their outdoor riding trails.

“To be able to expand those trails in that safe area so nobody’s afraid that they’re going to be lost or get a little bit turned around is really important to us.”

Douglas adds that PARDS wants to expand its cart program, which would benefit from the room for wider trails. She explains some riders aren’t able to mount a horse, and it gives them another option.

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“Pretty much everything we do is about making sure that no matter who you are you can be engaged in an activity that you want to be doing… We don’t care who you are, what you feel your limits might be, here you don’t have limits.”

The land would still be accessible to the public but maintained by the society.

Evergreen Park wants to expand on to three quarter-sections to the south of its current boundary. General Manager Dan Gorman says the goal is to have more space for users like the Evergreen Learning and Innovation Centre, Indigenous groups, and polo.

“We wish to study it properly so that we’re still retaining the beauty and the environment of park that we want to maintain, at the same time having the ability to expand as it’s possible.”

A long-term planning committee will be looking at all of the options for approval by Evergreen Park’s board. The extra land would bring its total to around 1,200 acres. It added two quarter sections within the last few years.

The County is still waiting to hear back from the province on its request.

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