Notebook

NOTEBOOK: How the City is paying for a gazebo at Village Square Park

“There is an exciting project coming to Village Square Park that I am pleased to share with everyone. A new gazebo will soon call the park its home.”
Councillor Shad Qadri’s newsletter, September 30

Map showing the location of the gazebo at the east end of Village Square Park.
Map showing the location of the gazebo at the east end of Village Square Park.

Councillor Shad Qadri recently revealed details about a gazebo being built at Village Square Park, at the corner of Stittsville Main and Abbott. The plan is to build a 16’x16′ raised stage at the east end of the park with electrical hook-ups, for use as a community performance space. The structure is already under construction and could be completed as early as November 1.

I didn’t remember seeing this as one of the projects included in this year’s city budget, so I asked him how much the gazebo would cost, and how it was being funded. Here’s a summary of what he shared.

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The budget for the gazebo is $105,000, although since the project isn’t completed yet there could be changes to the budget, up or down. The funding comes from two sources: $30,000 from a Waste Management Community Initiative Fund related to the Carp Road Landfill, and $75,000 from the Cash In Lieu of Parkland (CIL) budget for Stittsville Ward.

Let’s break those down a bit more.

COMMUNITY INITIATIVE FUND – $30,000
Councillor Qadri has called this amount a “donation” from Waste Management (WM) but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

In 2001, WM and the City of Ottawa signed a contract governing the original Carp Road Landfill, which operated from 2001 to 2011.  As part of that agreement, WM has contributed over $600,000 to a “Community Initiative Fund”, to be used for community projects in west end communities.

Typically, projects are proposed by the local councillor and are subject to WM’s approval. WM usually gets to participate in an official ribbon cutting ceremony and gets their name included on a sign or plaque attached the project.

As of December 2015, the fund had a balance of over $160,000 waiting to be earmarked for new projects. That’s where the $30,000 for this gazebo project comes from.  WM has been running summer concerts at Village Square Park for the last few years, so presumably they’re going to use the gazebo as a stage for future events.

The only other Stittsville project funded through this pot of money was a $25,000 grant in 2014 to establish a stewardship fund for Kemp Woodland near Sacred Heart High School.

(All this is separate from the landfill expansion currently proposed by Waste Management. The company is negotiating a new agreement with the City of Ottawa, which may or may not include a community funding component.)

CASH IN LIEU OF PARKLAND (CIL) – $75,000
For new developments in the City of Ottawa, developers have the option to either build a park, or pay the City of Ottawa a “cash in lieu” amount instead.  The amount paid gets split 60%-40% between the local ward and the city at large, and can be used at the councillor’s discretion towards building and maintaining parks and equipment. Construction of a splash pad last year at Pioneer Plains Park in Jackson Trails came out of the CIL fund, and cost about $200,000.

Stittsville’s CIL account, after subtracting the gazebo costs, now sits at $562,175, which is on the high side for suburban wards. That’s up from $187,718 at the end of December 2015.

“The CIL Ward 6 budget has received a large increase recently due to a number of apartment/condo projects which were recently approved and which the developers were required to contribute to the CIL fund,” told us by email.

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Qadri credits Stittsville resident Valerie Wright for suggesting the gazebo idea as part of a consultation last fall, and says that the community has been asking for a performance area in the park for a while.

Qadri also says he’ll be announcing details about another project funded through the CIL fund soon.

Could it be a sooner start to Stittsville’s skateboard park? Enhancements to the planned central park in Fernbank? New budget for acquiring the Shea Woods?  Maybe a fenced dog park somewhere in the ward?

Stay tuned….


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4 thoughts on “NOTEBOOK: How the City is paying for a gazebo at Village Square Park”

  1. The landfill Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) is a little more complex than a simple contribution of about $600,000 by Waste Management. In the 2001 agreement the City of Ottawa gave Waste Management $1,000,000 to invest in long term bonds. Funding for CIF projects comes from the interest earn on the million dollar investment. Once the landfill is finally closed Waste Management will pay the million dollars back to the City. So although since 2001 over $600,000 has been set aside for community projects it came from interest earn on City of Ottawa money.

    1. One of these days I will do a deep-dive on the original host agreement contract and all the financial arrangements it contains. The CIF was just one of several financial pieces that made up the final negotiated contract.

  2. So the fund has approximately $720K sitting in it doing nothing. Surely the community could be consulted to come up with something that could be useful.

  3. Happy to see something being done. I have a plethora of ideas for how to invest the remainder. I suppose I will have to get some assistance in formulating some kind of proposal.

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