Hamilton gets plan to enhance green spaces and address gaps in parkland provision
Published October 6, 2023 at 4:57 pm
In a move toward creating a greener and more accessible city, the General Issues Committee approved Hamilton’s first Parks Master Plan this week (Oct. 4).
This plan aims to bolster the presence of green spaces within downtown Hamilton and rectify disparities in parkland provision across various neighbourhoods.
“This plan will help us be strategic about where we should be actively looking to create these parklands,” said Cynthia Graham, Director, Environmental Services.
Hamilton currently does not have a citywide parks masterplan, that would set the course of how planning the park system as a whole.
The purpose of this master plan is to assess how much parkland should be provided by the city, where it should be located and how investments should be prioritized.
Currently, Hamilton has over 1200 hectares of municipal parkland. It includes four park classes city-wide, community, neighborhood, and parkette.
Focus factors used to gather information for this project were low or no municipal parkland areas with higher population density, areas near Transit and neighbourhoods with low income and high child and youth populations.
“There are some significant structural problems that we’re encountering with neighbourhood parks and their relationship to developers,” said Coun. Ted McMeekin.
“Developers have slowed down (construction) due to various reasons, and people in high-density areas end up with no parks,” added McMeekin
McMeekin shared an anecdote about a family in a Waterdown neighbourhood who moved in with young children and still don’t have a neighbourhood park, despite the kids now being in university.
“Wards 2 and 3 need more parks. The darker the colour(on the map), the higher the need. Durand, Corktown, and Beasley are all rated as having a very high need, Stinson with medium need, and the North End and Central with low need.” Coun. Cameron Kroetsch said in a tweet.
The lands in these areas are considered new growth areas, making them a priority for parkland provisioning in the coming years.
The masterplan is split into:
- Short-term goals (to be achieved within 4 years) may include actions such as revising the official plan to align existing policies with the Parks bylaws
- In the medium term (5 to 10 years), efforts may be focused on exploring possibilities for obtaining surface parking areas for conversion into parkland.
- Long-term objectives (10+ years) could involve establishing partnerships with owners and operators of sites to assess the feasibility of rehabilitating quarries into public parkland.
The Public Works Department engaged with a diverse group of stakeholders, including residents, park users, community organizations, Indigenous communities, and city officials via surveys, to seek inputs on their project.
In order to meet the City’s target of 2.1 hectares of parkland per 1,000 residents, the city has to allocate an annual budget of $8.6 million for the next 28 years.
The staff has now been directed to develop parkland acquisition strategies, including funding, for priority focus areas in the city.