By The Lake Park Wetaskiwin Jewel

Pipestone Flyer

The mystery has been solved. There is a real person behind the consistent neat and tidy appearance of  By-the-Lake Park in Wetaskiwin.  Her name is Meagan Weaheatley, a summer student charged with keeping the Park shipshape for people of all ages to enjoy.    

    “By- the- Lake Park has been mine to look after for the past 3 summers. I have had a tremendous amount of help along the way and it surely shows, it's a team effort! I take pride whether its picking weeds or trimming trees and I want people to see all the hard work that is done out there.  Hearing people comment on all that is done to maintain the park is amazing and it makes me want to work harder and keep the park top notch."

    Located on the outskirts of Wetaskiwin just west of Adams Pontiac along 56 Avenue, By-the-Lake Park is a natural link between the rural environment and urban development. This peaceful outdoor setting  offers such a diverse array of recreational opportunities; events  such as weddings, birthday parties, dances, reunions and meetings in the Hall. Residents of all ages can be seen hiking on the trails, picking saskatoons, observing wildlife and waterfowl, fishing, having a coffee on a picnic bench, shooting pictures, picking mushrooms, tobogganing, skating and the  many other activities family and friends enjoy.

    "The majority of my experiences at By the Lake Park are really positive. People can see all the hard work we put into it and they can see the park flourish. More and more people are coming to enjoy all the little perks whether its picking saskatoon's with their grandparents or enjoying the playground along with the spray park on a hot day.

    Recently there was a group of seniors that came for an afternoon at the park and there was a lady among them who, along with her husband, had sponsored a park bench.  She was tickled pink when her and a volunteer took a stroll and found her bench! It's amazing how nice people can be as well; the same group of ladies commandeered me from my 3 o'clock break and shared their tasty watermelon with me.

    The more years that go by the more people come. I think the playground is a preferred spot for play dates and I'm seeing more and more moms and tots or the whole family taking a stroll around the park! I think one of the great things about the park is its accessibility to everyone! From biology class trips and canoe trips to workout groups or afternoon picnics, everyone is welcome to enjoy.” 

    In the spring of 2012, the City improved the trail system by installing culverts to  prevent erosion of the trails and filled the mudholes and puddles with gravel. The trail is safer and it is easier to observe and experience the natural and man-made biological diversity offered by the park. Plans are underway to improve the trail even more by paving the 1.3 km of gravel section to a 3M width.  Originally the City had planned to widen and pave the entire 2.8 km trail at a total cost of $498k but could only secure funding totalling $241K. Although a reduction in project scope, none-the-less a great improvement to the trail system.

    Visitors will have easier access to the bountiful species of  birds and diverse types of vegetation including grasses, shrubs and trees. The lake, stocked with trout,  also supports numerous other water-supported organisms living in the lake and adjacent marshland.  Self-directed interpretive signs provide nature enthusiasts with an informative description of  the various plants and wildlife that call the area home. 

Megan offers a closing comment

     "I'm pretty proud of the City of Wetaskiwin and what we can accomplish with the resources we have! I've worked for the city in the summer for 3 years, mostly at By the Lake Park, and it gets a little better every year. It's great to see people taking pride in the Park and making the effort to keep it cleaner. Less garbage and vandalism gets my thumbs up! It's awesome to have people come up and say they appreciate the work we put into the park. "