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Pop-up park could turn vacant lot into community hub

It's a vacant lot closed off by concrete barricades, but this summer it should be a park, says the executive director of a local environmental group.

In a presentation to Yellowknife city council on Monday, Ecology North executive director Craig Scott, said a vacant lot beside the Raven Nightclub should be turned into a “pop-up park.”

Ecology North is proposing a pop-up park in a vacant lot in downtown Yellowknife. Avery Zingel/NNSL photo

Pop-up parks are often temporary constructions used to reclaim urban spaces, said Scott.

The park could be easily built as its trees would be installed in boxes and other equipment would be easy to set up or remove, he added.

The park could used for a number of activities including hands-on workshops, outdoor screenings, safe space for people struggling with homelessness, urban forestation, arts installations and community gardens, he said.

“There are lots of potential opportunities. This has been done all over the world,” said Scott.

Councillors Linda Bussey, Julian Morse, Shauna Morgan, Adrian Bell and Steve Payne voiced support for the project.

“Sometimes we look for big things to make changes in the downtown core but I think what's going to make the most change [are] the little things that we can do. It's going to be a place that we'll want to bring our kids,” said Coun. Payne.

The city is already conducting maintenance on the empty lots, said Coun. Shauna Morgan.

“I also think this idea has a lot of potential,” she said.

Senior administration also voiced support for a pop-up park.

“Having something that's alive in the downtown as opposed to a dead space is certainly much more desirable,” said the city's senior administrative officer, Sheila Bassi-Kellett.

Ecology North is also working with the Yellowknife Community Foundation to secure funding for the project and hopes to open the park by the summer, Scott said.