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Guelph council approves new parks and recreation master plan

A plan has been approved by Guelph city council that will map out future recreational needs in the Royal City over the next decade.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan was passed at Tuesday’s meeting.

The 130-page document contains 97 recommendations with an overall price tag of $17.35 million.

“It has some high-level strategies like all ages and abilities, and inclusion and diversity,” Coun. Dominique O’Rourke said. “As the city gets more diverse, are the parks meeting those needs? Are the parks and the recreation facilities and the programs meeting the needs of older people and abilities?”

Five amendments to the master plan were introduced by Coun. Erin Caton. Her motions covered accessibility issues such as people in wheelchairs being able to use the playground equipment.

“I think we are making great strides towards inclusion and equity,” Caton said. “There is a lot of love in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. With a few small metrics, we can make this 100 per cent perfect.”

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However, council elected to refer the motions to the city’s accessibility advisory committee.

“There is full agreement that we want to make the parks more accessible,” O’Rourke said. “The challenge is those recommendations didn’t go through the accessibility advisory committee. So staff have endeavoured to take that back to the committee. They can then be implemented (once approved) over the course of the plan.”

The plan includes recommendations to develop a sports field strategy, renovate the Drew Park basketball court and construct at least one major skateboard park to be located in an area south of the Speed River within a five- to nine-year period.

“There is also a bit of a game plan for what will be facilities or structures that will come online in the next five to 10 years,” O’Rourke said.


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