News / Halifax

'Labour of love:' New Halifax park welcomes all ages, abilities

Bedford's new Live More Park is completely accessible and encourages inter-generational bonding.

Natasha Handspiker, manager of community engagement at Northwood, and resident Melanie Gaunt stroll through the new intergenerational, accessible recreation and gardening space. The park is open to the community at large.

Zane Woodford / Metro Order this photo

Natasha Handspiker, manager of community engagement at Northwood, and resident Melanie Gaunt stroll through the new intergenerational, accessible recreation and gardening space. The park is open to the community at large.

A community park being described as having one of the “most unique park designs in Atlantic Canada” officially opens in Bedford on Friday.

The William E. Frank Live More Park on the grounds of Northwood’s Bedford campus was designed to accommodate everyone from toddlers to seniors, and people of all abilities.

Community garden beds, floral and fruit trees, paved walkways, a gardening and tool shed and green space are among the features of the accessible and dementia-friendly public park.

Described as accessible and “inter-generational,” the park was created after many consultations with the local community, Northwood residents, staff and volunteers.

“This is what the community wanted…The park is open to the public and we very much encourage the community to use the space,” said Natasha Handspiker, manager of community engagement at Northwood.

“The whole park has been a labour of love and we want it to grow.”

Handspiker said of the 42 garden beds, six are 100 per cent wheelchair accessible. Members of the local community are encouraged to rent the beds, with money going back into the park space.

“There’s a day care (nearby) and they bought two plots, so on any given day you can see toddlers gardening too which is a really great thing for our residents too, to have that inter-generational component,” she said.

“Anybody who lives here, we have younger populations as well, not just seniors, can integrate with people in the community and it’s not organized. It’s happening naturally just like it would in any other community.”

Northwood Bedford Campus resident Melanie Gaunt was on the committee that helped create the facility's new public community project, the Live More Park. The public park launch happens Friday at 2 p.m. (Zane Woodford/Metro)

Zane Woodford/Metro

Northwood Bedford Campus resident Melanie Gaunt was on the committee that helped create the facility's new public community project, the Live More Park. The public park launch happens Friday at 2 p.m. (Zane Woodford/Metro)

The park was entirely paid for by donations and grants. Future plans include a 20 by 20 foot gazebo and a water fountain.

Northwood resident Melanie Gaunt was on the park planning committee. She said as someone who uses a wheelchair, she appreciated being actively included in each stage of the park planning.

“As a resident it’s really nice and calming here, especially in the evening. There’s something grounding about Mother Nature,” Gaunt said.

“The green and the nature and the plants and the flowers and the lamps. I came down here the other evening at dusk and I had never seen it with the lights and it was so nice. I could just feel my blood pressure go down.”

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