(PHOTO: John Hughes wants to see an upgrade or an entirely new skatepark in Stittsville. And sooner rather than later. Photo by Jordan Mady.)
Last month, councillor Shad Qadri asked residents to send in their suggestions for park improvements and amenities in Stittsville. City council has earmarked $2-million per year across the city to upgrade parks and recreation facilities over the next four years.
In his email newsletter to residents today, Qadri said that splash pads and skateboard parks are the top two priorities for residents.
That will be welcome news to John Hughes, a Stittsville dad who we interviewed earlier in the summer. He says a community the size of Stittsville, with a large youth population, needs a better skateboard park than the one that’s currently located at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex.
It’s not clear how the $2-million park fund will be distributed across the city’s 23 wards, but Qadri notes that there are other sources of funds to pay for park upgrades. A new skateboard park could cost anywhere from $150,000-$400,000. The new splash pad that opened in Jackson Trails this summer cost $200,000.
Here’s Qadri’s full update about park priorities:
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on my request for Stittsville outdoor park amenities and improvements to be considered in part of City Council Strategic Initiative 35 – Parks and Recreation Facility Upgrades. This initiative provides $2M in each year of the term of Council for capital projects throughout the City of Ottawa.
Requested Top Priorities to Review
I was very pleased with the range of feedback I received and some of the largest requests which I will be discussing with City staff are for more Splash Pads in the community especially in the central and western areas of Stittsville.
Another top priority is to review the existing Skateboard Park at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex (GRC) and improve the park at this location or find a new location for the park. When the second arena was constructed at the GRC this Skate Park was reduced impacting the quality of the park. I have been working with staff to review possibilities to provide an improved Skateboard Park along with a BMX track.
Play Structure Replacement Requests
A number of requests I received were for play structure replacement at a variety of parks in Stittsville. The City does have a Life Cycle replacement schedule and there are a number of structures in Stittsville forecasted to be replaced during this term of Council (2014-2018). It is important to note that the Life Cycle replacement schedule is subject to competing priorities, funding envelope availability in any given year, as well as, Council approval.
Earlier this year City staff advised me that some of the top priority playground replacement projects in Stittsville include: Amberway Park, Stitt Street Park, Sugar Creek Park and Wyldwood Park. These parks currently have a higher priority and may be considered for replacement in 2016 pending funding availability. City wide, there are over 1000 parks events worth over $35M identified for replacement in 2016.
Cash in Lieu of Parkland Funding
In addition to funding through Council’s Strategic Initiatives, each ward has a Cash-in-Lieu of Parkland budget available for projects in each ward. Funding from this account was used to construct the new Splash Pad in Pioneer Plains Park in Jackson Trails and I intend to fund more projects like this in the community.
A dedicated amount of parkland is required for any residential development and is calculated by the size of the development property. There is an opportunity for landowner to provide money instead of parkland when the City deems this acceptable. All large developers in Stittsville have been required to provide the full amount of required parkland. The funding in the Cash-in-Lieu of Parkland money has mainly come from smaller developments such as severances or higher density developments which do not have the ability to accommodate parks. For more information on the policy you can visit: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/planning-and-development/how-develop-property/cash-lieu-parkland-funds-policy
District Parks Planned in the Future
In the future Stittsville is planned to see two new large district parks which are anticipated to include a recreation complex along with sports fields and other amenities. One of these parks was planned through the Kanata West Concept Plan and is to be located north of the Mattamy Homes Fairwinds development near the Palladium Auto Park.
Another district park is planned through the Fernbank Community Design Plan to be located along the north side of the Trans Canada Trail east of Iber Road. For more information on these plans please visit: http://shadqadri.com/stittsville-info/planning-dev/community-plans/