What’s in a Park? City Workshop Asks for the Parameters of a Community Park

About 40 people took part in the first of two workshops Wednesday to give the City of Guelph feedback on what the community park in Clair-Maltby should look like when the final draft of the plan comes back for council approval.

The aim of the workshop was to get a general sense of what the public’s expectations are for a community park in the Clair-Maltby area. The area’s particularly unique natural heritage features offers a number of interesting possibilities, but in terms of the general overview, there was a lot of agreement about what the planned community park needs to be.

In terms of the size of the park, people wanted to focus on vision. That is to say that they didn’t want a huge park, land is expensive after all, but that they want the future community park to leave a legacy, to be multifaceted in terms of the types of uses, and that it’s planned according to the maximum end population of the area, which is 16,000 people.

Also, people wanted the park to have maximum access to area neighbourhoods, be easy to get to on Guelph Transit, that it have trails and be walkable in all seasons, and, if possible, be co-located with area schools so that kids can have an easier time accessing the great outdoors.

Workshop attendees were also concerned about the existing natural features of the land, and that the original topography be included, if possible, in the park design. Visual access to Halls Pond was also a priority, as well as protecting area wetlands, and they asked that the City not count stormwater management as parkland in the process.

The City has its own requirements for a community park, including a size of 10 hectares, and that it not be located inside the Gordon Street Intensification corridor, or protected natural heritage areas. Participants in the workshop were given two maps with potential locations for the community park, and they had to rank their top 3 potentials.

Participants were asked to choose three sites from this map for one 10 ha park…

…and then they were asked to choose their Top 3 pairs of sites for two potential 5 ha parks form this map.

Staff are also looking at the possibility of three smaller parks that add up to 10 ha, but there were too many options to offer useful feedback in a group setting.

Park savvy people will note that the parkland requirements of the Clair-Maltby area will be 32.5 ha according to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw, but the 10 ha that the City is setting aside for a community park does not preclude the addition of more parkland as the area is developed further. Still, some in attendance made note of their concern that the amount of parkland in Clair-Maltby might come up short.

Another aspect of the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan that was discussed in the workshop was the “Moraine Ribbon,” which the City describes as “made up of a series of connected open spaces that weave a line through the area and run alongside the natural heritage system,” that will include trails, rest areas, and landscape views.

Staff said that that the ribbon will offer compatible land use next to the natural heritage system, as well as opportunities to have both active and passive recreation. The ribbon can included connected park areas, stormwater management features, and cultural heritage resources.

The picture above projected on the screen is a visual representation of what the ribbon might look like.

Did you miss the workshops? Don’t worry, there will be more opportunities to offer feedback, including the online variety. The City is taking feedback on this phase of park planning on the City’s website until October 14.

Staff added that there will be a second workshop in either November and or early December to shortlist the various possibilities, and then an open space policy direction will be recommended for council’s consideration sometime in early 2020.

To the rest of the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan, it still has to go through the process of first draft, open house, statutory public meeting, further public engagement, and the final passage by council, so there are still a lot of hoops that the plan has to jump through.

To stay engaged on all things Clair-Maltby, visit the City’s dedicated webpage for the Secondary Plan.

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