Playground disposals

On Wednesday, April 12, 4:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Finance and Administration Committee, staff are looking for approval for the disposal of 10 playgrounds.  

You can find the full list of parks and the rationale in this report.

If you have concerns, you can contact your councillor, attend the meeting, and spread the word to your friends and neighbours.

You can e-mail all of Council with this e-mail list:  brian.bigger@greatersudbury.ca; mayor@greatersudbury.ca;  mark.signoretti@greatersudbury.ca; michael.vagnini@greatersudbury.ca; gerry.montpellier@greatersudbury.ca;  evelyn.dutrisac@greatersudbury.ca; robert.kirwan@greatersudbury.ca; rene.lapierre@greatersudbury.ca; mike.jakubo@greatersudbury.ca; al.sizer@greatersudbury.ca;  deb.mcintosh@greatersudbury.ca;  fern.cormier@greatersudbury.ca;  lynne.reynolds@greatersudbury.ca;  joscelyne.landry-altmann@greatersudbury.ca.

Here is the full list of parks recommended for disposal:  Participation tot lot; Queen’s Athletic Field; Pine and Fir Tot Lot; Gil Loop Tot Lot; Shawn Tot Lot; MacMillan Tot Lot; Pinecrest Tot Lot; Ravine Park/Lion’s Park; Paquette Tot Lot; Rose Marie/Place Hurtibise; Summerhill Park. 

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In the report, parks were considered ‘redundant’ using a 400m metre buffer from other parks.  However, the Park Land Disposal Policy (2010) states that a park can be considered for disposal if, among other considerations:  “The lands are located within an area that has an oversupply of existing and planned parkland, following the target of 4 ha per 1000 residents, within 800m of residential areas without crossing a major barrier.

As a result, parks are listed as ‘redundant’ when they serve a neighbourhood that has no other access to a neighbourhood park without crossing a major barrier that make it inaccessible to neighbourhood kids.

For example:
-  Queen’s Athletic Field is assumed to overlap with Marguerite Lougheed Park, but these two parks are separated by Regent St.
-  MacMillan Tot Lot is assumed to overlap with Rose Court tot lot, but these two parks are separated by Dominion Drive

It also results in some neighbourhoods being left with no park within a 10 minute walk.  Eg.  Gil Loop Tot Lot is assumed to overlap with Onaping Community Centre, but this park services the north-east of Onaping Falls, which is well beyond 800m from the Onaping Community Centre.

Service standards are not the only consideration for park disposal.  Need, social value, and current use are examples of other important factors.  For example, Place Hurtibise Playground is adjacent to Social Housing and important to families residing there. None of these other factors are referenced in the report.

Residents know best the current use and value of the parks in their neighbourhood.  This is why the Park Land Disposal Policy includes requirements for public notification and opportunities for public input, including signage at the park for 30 days, mail-outs, and circulation to the Ward Councillor and relevant Neighbourhood Associations, CANs or other community groups in the area.  The public notification requirements, as well as other requirements in the Park Land Disposal Policy have not been followed in this report.  No decision on disposal of parkland should be made until these requirements are met.

This is part of a larger discussion of meeting park service standards and providing quality of life to Greater Sudbury residents in an equitable and financially sustainable manner.   It may make more sense to address those larger questions before making decisions on closing ten active playgrounds, at least some of which are well used by residents.

 


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