PARKS MASTER PLAN UPDATE
REPORT TO: Community Services Committee
DATE OF REPORT: April 27, 2010 | DATE OF MEETING: May 10, 2010
SUBMITTED BY: Jim Witmer, Director of Operations
PREPARED BY: Dan Ritz, Supervisor of Design & Development
REPORT NO.: CSD-10-030
That the Draft Parks Master Plan dated April 2010 be received for information and discussion; and further,
That subject to the completion of the public review and comment period, the Final Parks Master Plan be brought back to Council on June 28, 2010 for final approval.
In 2008, Council awarded E08-058, Consulting Services – Parks Master Plan to GSP Group Inc. to undertake a comprehensive review of various park policies, operational standards, development initiatives, implementation & delivery strategies and guidelines that will support park development and operations. (Council approval October 27, 2008)
On June 1, 2009, staff provided a Parks Master Plan Update to Community Services Committee (report CSD-09-037). At that time, the Situational Analysis Report and public and stakeholder consultation was completed. Five central themes emerged as result of the input and background study as follows:
- Natural Areas
- Community Trails
- Active Parkland
- Neighbourhood Parks
- Community Engagement
On October 26, 2009, staff provided a second update and presentation on the status of the Parks Master Plan to Community Services Committee (report CSD-09-058). During this period, the development of the Draft Parks Master Plan was well underway. The original 5 themes were expanded upon and one additional theme, namely Grand River Corridor, was added through Council input. Staff advised committee that the next steps would include completion of the draft Parks Master Plan and development of the Implementation Strategy.
The draft Park Master Plan is complete and the project team is now soliciting comment from the staff technical committee, interested user groups and public participants. The Master Plan has been organized into four sections as follows:
1. Introduction – identifies the motivation and context for the Park Master Plan and the process involved in its creation.
2. Strategic Framework – this section includes three components to articulate the overall strategic direction of the Plan:
- A Vision and Mission statement to capture the overall spirit and intent, future perspective and targeted outcomes for the City’s parks system;
- A connected series of Principles and Goals intended to guide decision making, directions and strategies within the Master Plan, and to establish the overall objectives for the parks system; and,
- A Parkland Classification System providing a categorization of park system resources into an organized framework as a guide for planning the distribution and servicing of existing and future parkland.
3. Strategic Themes – specific initiatives and strategies are organized within the following six themes that emerged as community priorities through the research and consultation:
- Conserving and Restoring City Natural Areas;
- Strengthening and Expanding the Community Trails Network;
- Completing the Vision for the Grand River Corridor;
- Enhancing Active Parkland and Fostering Growth in Outdoor Sports;
- Building and Renewing our Neighbourhood Parks;
- Engaging and Activating the Community.
4. Implementation Strategy – this section includes three components to direct the implementation of the Master Plan, including:
- Policies and procedures to define the City’s role, the role of partnerships and the community, and to guide parkland acquisition, design, development, operations, renewal, programming and use.
- A prioritized action plan identifying areas of further study as well as specific park investments with related timing and capital/operating financial implications.
- Guidelines for performance measurement and related evaluation tools for monitoring the achievement of the desired outcomes identified in the Master Plan.
Staff is requesting that Community Services Committee receive the draft Parks Master Plan, followed by a public input period. Public and additional technical committee comments will be incorporated into the final Parks Master Plan which will be brought back to Council on June 28, 2010 with the following recommendations:
That the Parks Master Plan dated June 2010 be approved, and;
That the implementation of the Parks Master Plan strategies and actions be referred to the corporate business planning and the annual capital and operating budget processes for consideration.
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: Financial implications as a result of the Parks Master Plan Implementation Strategy will be brought forward through the ten-year Capital Budget Forecast and Annual Operating Budget.
COMMUNICATIONS: A public review and comment period will occur throughout May 2010 in order to solicit comment from the interested public participants and user groups on the Draft Parks Master Plan.
CONCLUSION: The completed Parks Master Plan represents a critical step in the renewed effort to ensuring that Kitchener’s park system continues to meet resident needs, as well as contributes to the overall quality of life, culture, heritage and urban character.
Public has opportunity to comment on draft parks master plan
Monday, May 10, 2010 | http://www.kitchener.ca/news/MediaDetail.asp?tid=19009
KITCHENER -The city is taking a critical step in ensuring its park system meets residents' needs and contributes to the overall quality of life, culture, heritage and urban character, as a draft parks master plan was presented to the community services committee today.
Citizens can comment on the plan and its recommendations between now and June 10 (online feedback form will be available as of May 14).
The master plan:
- Provides strategies and opportunities for planning, conserving and managing the park system;
- Bridges the gap between community needs and expectations, and the current operating and development standards for parks.
- Creates the framework for allocating staff and funding resources, in order to continue to build a healthy and livable community.
''Consultation with the public has been a key part of this process, and it's important for citizens to have the opportunity to comment on the outcome of that process,'' said Dan Ritz, supervisor of design and development for the City of Kitchener.
The recommended strategies of the draft plan emerged as community priorities through research and consultation, and also have a foundation in documents such as Plan for a Healthy Kitchener and the City of Kitchener Strategic Plan. The priorities are organized within the following six themes:
- Conserving and restoring city natural areas;
- Strengthening and expanding the community trails network;
- Completing the vision for the Grand River corridor;
- Building and renewing neighbourhood parks;
- Engaging and activating the community.
''This gives us a lot to think about with respect to our direction with parks, particularly around acquisition and development,'' said Counc. Berry Vrbanovic. ''I think this gives us some clear direction on what we have to work on over the next few years, both towards making parks a vital part of our community infrastructure, and the future development of the Grand River corridor.''
Opportunities for feedback will ask to what degree (strongly support or strongly not support) the actions under each of these themes. A workbook is one of the primary ways that comments will be collected from residents regarding the draft Park Master Plan before presenting the document for council consideration in June 2010.
Public consultation in the research stage last year took the form of community workshops and online surveys, among other options.
Park Plan Overview
Kitchener has been at the forefront of planning for recreation facilities and parks as early as 1975, when it created one of the first parks and recreation master plans in Ontario. In 1990, the city undertook a second master plan and in 2004-05 completed a Leisure Facilities Strategic Master Plan.
A digital copy is available for download of the workbook is available at www.kitchener.ca; hard copies are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 519-741-2566.
Report says city needs signature park, waterfront green space
June 27, 2010
By Terry Pender, Record staff
KITCHENER — A new master plan calls on the city to start planning for a signature park on the Grand River that is connected to a series of smaller green spaces by a waterfront trail.
The 134-page draft Park Master Plan goes before city councillors Monday night.
In general, it says the City of Kitchener needs to spend more on its park system and one chapter is devoted to Completing the Vision for the Grand River Corridor.
Several mid-sized cities including, London, Kingston, Halifax and Victoria, B.C., created iconic waterfront trails and parks decades ago, but not Kitchener.
About 10 years after work started on the Walter Bean Grand River Trail, there are several sections that remain unfinished in this city even though all of the money to pay for the trail building is being held by the Grand River Conservation Foundation.
The new Park Master Plan aims to correct this deficiency.
It says city councillors should: “Target the acquisition of floodplain land and natural areas within and along the river valley to complete the implementation of a continuous public open space corridor.”
The Bridgeport North floodplain, Lackner Woods, Natchez Hills, Woolner Flats/Grand River South floodplain and Hidden Valley floodplain should all be evaluated for acquisition.
Currently there are about four city-owned parks along the Grand River, but the Park Master Plan notes “there is no identifiable signature Grand River park in Kitchener. This initiative could be a catalyst for additional public open space acquisition along the river, giving life to the overall vision for completing the entire corridor.”
In nearby London, two large parks were constructed along the Thames River — Springbank Park in the west end and Harris Park in the downtown. Both the north and south branches of the Thames River through that city have paved, multi-use trails along the banks.
Coun. Berry Vrbanovic initiated the latest call for more parkland along the Grand River. Vrbanovic did that last year after hundreds of residents opposed a city staff proposal to sell off part of Kiwanis Park and other green spaces in the city.
“I am pleased there is some recognition that this is something we need to do,” Vrbanovic said.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be limiting it to a single riverside park but a series of parks that are connected by the Walter Bean Trail,” Vrbanovic said.
The new Park Master Plan repeats a call that was made 15 years ago in a study of the potential for parks and green spaces along the Grand River.
“It was never a real focus,” Vrbanovic said of the city’s neglected waterfront.
The consultant’s report confirms that Kitchener needs to spend more on its parks. In October 2006, a staff report said it would take 18 years to finish the backlog of undeveloped parks in new subdivisions and 30 years to catch up on trails.
City councillors put more money in the 10-year capital budget in response to that report four years ago. They also put more money into their spending plans last year in anticipation of the new Parks Master Plan.
But spending on parks comes nowhere near the funding for other areas — $70 million committed or earmarked for parking garages in the central neighbourhoods, $64 million for a new public works yard in south Kitchener, $7 million for new software for the finance department and about $14 million for acquiring 2.6 acres of land adjacent to City Hall.
Vrbanovic said not enough attention has been paid to the city’s park system and that has to change.
“Over the years we have put our focus on other kinds of assets in the community,” Vrbanovic said.
Years ago Vbranovic sat on the board of the Grand River Conservation Authority and he led the move to get Kiwanis Park back in city hands. The veteran councillor believes this city is ready for increased spending on new and existing parks.
“I think we are at a point where we are very ready to see this kind of development happen,” Vrbanovic said.
The consultants who prepared the draft Park Master Plan called for increased spending over the next 10 years in several areas:
The natural areas budget should increase to $2.71 million, up from $1.31 million.
The community trails budget should increase to $5.3 million, up from $4.3 million
Grand River floodplain acquisition should increase to $2 million, up from $1 million.
Retrofits to synthetic turf should increase to $4.8 million, up from $1.3 million.
New park development should get $5.1 million, up from $1 million
Park rehabilitation needs $2.8 million, up from $1 million.
One of the city’s most passionate advocates for better parks has been Gord Nicholls, who lives near the Grand River in south Kitchener.
“A surface reading of this document gives you the impression the planners who wrote it are trying to make Kitchener the greenest city in North America,” said Nicholls after reading the proposed Park Master Plan.
But the plan puts too much emphasis on planning and not enough on buying land and building new parks, Nicholls said.
Nicholls crunched some numbers that indicate the existing parks will come under increasing pressure.
The city’s current population is 228,540. That will increase to 311,500 by 2031.
Currently, the city has 1,519 hectares (3,752 acres) of parkland. That suggests that for every 100 residents there are 1.64 acres of parkland.
“Taking that through to 2031, if we are going to maintain the current ratio of people to parkland, we must increase the total amount of parkland by 1,361 acres,” Nicholls said.
“This means they have to acquire, one way or another, a whole lot of land,” Nicholls said.
This really is not the correct spot for this but not sure where else it fits exactly.
Today I seen crews from Dakon Construction working on the Harry Class Pool renovations.
For those not familiar with the project the project background is listed below:
Harry Class facility
The project includes:
Creating a family change room.
Replacing the concrete deck.
Resurfacing the pool with an epoxy finish.
Upgrading change house.
Upgrading filtration system.
For tender details.
Park funding short of growing expectations
February 4, 2011| TERRY PENDER | THE RECORD | LINK
KITCHENER — A signature water front park along the Grand River — a key recommendation in a major plan adopted last year — is not a priority in the proposed 2011 capital budget that calls for spending $120 million.
City councillors reviewed the capital budget Friday and saw $56,000 earmarked for buying flood plain land along the river for parks and trails. During the next 10 years the capital-spending program calls for spending $1.5 million on acquiring land on the river for a major, new park.
That suggested funding is a tiny fraction of the proposed spending next year on the new public works yard at the former B.F. Goodrich site ($9.8 million), $20 million on the reconstruction of roads and underground pipes, $5.6 million on road resurfacing, and $3.5 million on new vehicles.
In a presentation to city councillors, Jim Witmer, the director of operations, said the community’s expectations for improved parks and trails outstrip the city’s ability to provide them.
I mean it's too bad that this isn't happening this year, but not really a surprise. Lots of other things that need focused on.
Still anxious for lots more details to come out about it though.
I agree that there is a lot going on, and acquiring land isn't a priority right now. However, they might as well take that $56,000 and put it to good use elsewhere... perhaps trail maintenance? I mean, how much (waterfront!) land can one acquire with such a small sum?
Work has begun on Kitchener's Woodside Park, synthetic turf is being laid down for two sports fields, and new lighting will be installed.
Woodside Park 12-Aug-2011
Harry Class Pool 12-Aug-2011
My wife pointed out the different railings at Harry Class a long while ago and I only got around to taking a picture recently. Notice the "HCCP" (Harry Class Community Pool).
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
The ugly green fence came down last week. One field looks more or less complete.
Woodside Park 20-Oct-2011
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
Nice to see they lined the boundary line with big rocks...
The Intowns development is a great location with parks on both sides of it. This location and development seems much more desirable than the new Joy development on Mill St.
1. They look nice and would function as bleachers if they were a few feet off the actual boundary.
2. If the rocks are right on the lined boundary... the soccer moms should start buying some hockey gears for their kids.
From the pictures, it seem like option 2 but I hope people would have more common sense.
I'm being completely serious. To me it looks like the rocks are barely high enough to sit on and function as bleachers. If they wanted bleachers they should have installed bleachers like any other sports field. And again, if you look at the height of the rocks and the angle the photo was taken at you don't see any boundary line which leads me to believe that the line is no more than a foot away (at most) from the rocks. Look at the first picture and you'll see the baseline comes all the way down to this "decoration".
They haven't painted the sideline yet, but you can see where it will be.
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.