Council approves equity-driven and progressive parkland strategy
The ‘Spaces’ strategy, the first part of ‘Places & Spaces: A Parks and Open Space Strategy’, sets out the vision for parkland, shaped by extensive community engagement, over the next two decades. It identifies the importance of local parks to community and sets a target of 10 square meters of local park per person across the city. The plan identifies nine critical needs communities, where the City will seek to add new parks over the coming years. The plan directs staff to:
- Work to secure up to 18 new parks in critical needs communities to support community access to local park space.
- Work with partners such as school boards and hydro companies to maximize shared opportunities to use open spaces for the public.
As part of the plan, a new Parkland Dedication By-law has been passed that includes:
- Removal of an exemption on all downtown development to pay parkland dedication as part of new development.
- Providing a discount to developers who build and sustain supportive housing and affordable rental housing.
- Providing support for developers to build public open spaces into new private developments.
Staff will begin by looking for opportunities where new parks might be located, based on priorities in the plan, and will bring recommendations forward during the 2024 budget cycle for how Council can further support and fast-track securing parkland. Work on ‘Places’, the second part of the strategy, continues and will reflect what community sees as the priorities in making a park a ‘good park’. A draft report is expected in late 2023 on Places.
This could not have been achieved without the significant support and engagement of members of community through online engagement, writing letters and emails to councillors and through attending council discussions and meetings.
Seeing Spaces approved and a new Parkland Dedication bylaw in place in a major milestone - but so too is the fact that we are half way through our engagement on Places! If you have participated so far - thank you! - if you have not yet - there's lots of opportunities coming up - both in person and online!