Proposed City of Ottawa Park Plan for Greely
Above is the proposed design for a new park to be built in 2014 by the City of Ottawa at a cost of $2m in the Greely Village Centre, south of Ottawa. It is a much needed community (as opposed to regional) 13-acre park.
In a recent meeting, when asked why there are no W/Cs (washrooms) or canteen included in its design, City planners responded, “Washrooms? Now why would we put in washrooms? It would cost money to clean and maintain them. People will have to go elsewhere. And canteens, well they’re just targets for vandals.”
Hmm, now if you wonder why you can go to any number of expensive city parks on beautiful summer weekends and find no one using them, I mean absolutely no one, you have your answer. If soccer mom wants to watch her daughter play and she is pregnant with her third child, telling her that she has to go in the bushes is just not going to cut it. It will be as if the Walking Dead have taken all the people away.
To increase park utilization and enjoyment, the City has to include washrooms and a canteen at a minimum. Otherwise, don’t bother building it.
Active uses in the park (canteen, tea house, c-store, zip line operator, parkour, mini golf, equipment rentals, barbecues, picnic tables…) are part of what I call an Eyes-On-The-Park strategy– they not only encourage use, they improve safety and satisfaction.
Municipalities might consider going further– they could borrow from mobile home parks and create inexpensive lots that back onto these parks. These could be leased out on a longterm basis at a relatively low monthly cost. So a young couple might be able to find affordable lots in the city that they can lease instead of buy.
Affordable lots backing onto city parks with no fences permitted creates yet more eyes on the park, more kids playing there and a new revenue stream for cities.
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