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New PoCo lagoon park to open Saturday

The Blakeburn Lagoons Park features 1.6 km of walking trails, viewing platforms and more.

Blakeburn Lagoons Park has been cleaned up, dressed up and spiffied up — and on Saturday, it will be open to the public.

The 11-hectare (27-acre) park near Blakeburn elementary school will have its official opening from 1 to 3 p.m.

The property used to be two sanitary waste settling ponds that were closed in 1978. It sat there with no public access until a few years ago, when the city of PoCo got $1.9 million in federal and provincial funding in 2015 towards a $3-million rehabilitation project.

Work on the makeover started a year ago.

The site's contaminated soil has been remediated and the lagoons reshaped and deepened to turn the site into a wetland habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.

The park features 1.6 km of walking trails, viewing platforms, a reflective space, seating, educational signage, picnic area and four wildlife-only habitat islands. More than 100,000 indigenous shrubs and plants, more than 1,300 indigenous trees and two acres of native grasses have been planted.

Weather issues delayed the work last year so instead of opening in late fall, it was decided to keep the park closed over the winter to give the plants a chance to root.

Parking is available at the park's main entry point in the 2900-block of Elbow Place or off Riverside Drive.