The stage is gone and McLennan Park is back to being a busy place for families.

But there’s something on the grounds of the park that wasn’t there before thousands of rock-and-roll fans descended on the park for last month’s Big Music Fest – wood chips that cover a large swath of the park.

Kendra Horst, who lives nearby and takes her children to the park often, isn’t a fan of them.

“It’s awful. It’s not safe. It doesn’t look nice. It’s gross, actually,” she said Tuesday.

Although most people only discovered the chips in the aftermath of the music festival, there’s no direct connection between the two.

The chips were placed in the park in response to the methane gas issues discovered during site prep work for the concert.

“The wood chips are there as a temporary solution, to maintain the integrity of the turf,” said Jim Witmer, Kitchener’s director of operations.

In late June, high levels of methane were detected in the old drainage system left over from the park’s days as a landfill.

Affected pipes were removed from the site, but that required tearing up a portion of the park’s ground cover.

The wood chips were deposited to help stabilize the ground after the pipes were removed.

“We recognize that having wood chips there is not an ideal situation,” said Witmer.

“We’d prefer to have a lawn. We’re just as anxious as they are to have them removed.”

Witmer says a more permanent plan for the McLennan Park grounds should be complete by fall, with work done in time for next spring.

Parents like Luisa Malleck say they just want something safer and more aesthetically pleasing in the park.

“(The wood chips are) OK on a day where it’s sunny,” Malleck said.

“When it’s raining out, it’s uncomfortable for both the children and the adults. I’d definitely prefer the grass.”