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Issue Identification – Underdeveloped Parks

Oshawa has a history of accepting Parkland in Lieu from developers.

While this may be a well intended policy to allow the city to construct parks that are better suited to the neighbourhoods, it appears to create huge green spaces that are a drain on the annual budget to complete. As a result, many neighbourhood parks are underdeveloped.

I recently had a constituent comment that their neighbourhood park is only used for softball in the summer and could be a great place for a neighbourhood outdoor rink. Thankfully, this current council has finally started to implement outdoor natural rinks in very limited locations. But Ward 4 used to have a community driven outdoor natural rink at Brick by Brick park. Downtown businesses assisted to cover the costs of insurance when the city presented that as a roadblock to the continued construction and use of the rink by local residents. The ‘community’ put forth the effort and insurance to build the structure, flood the rink, shovel the snow, and administer the use.

Another of the unintended consequences of Parkland in Lieu is that the planning process appears to allow developers to give over lands that are not suitable for future park spaces. Many of the City’s ‘greenspaces’ are along ravines, creeks or other natural features that include flood plains, slopes, waterways or habitat that can not be easily developed into sports fields, playgrounds or even gardens.

By the time the City gets to developing these in lieu parks spaces, costs have greatly increased and city reserve funds are often required along with tax increases to finally get the job done. Many newer residents in Oshawa still have no neighbourhood park to attend, just a large field or greenspace.

As community demographics continue to change, infill and redevelopment shrinks yards, and many of our underdeveloped parks are now in need of a refit or repurposing. In the last term of Council, Ward 5 saw a huge positive impact on their parks, largely due to having their Councillors sit as Chair and Vice Chair of the Finance Committee. They were able to transfer approved funding from Brick by Brick park in Ward 4 to the new Ed Broadbent Park that wasn’t even on the drawing board when they got elected in 2018!

Ward 4 needs a strong voice to support the needs of our community and to ensure the timely redevelopment of our parks and infrastructure. We need a voice that will not allow us to be taken for granted or put behind the other Wards.

I will be that voice of the people for Ward 4, to ensure we get the attention we deserve.

Contact me with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. Let me work with you to improve Oshawa, starting with Ward 4.

Jeff Davis Candidate for Regional and City Councillor, Ward 4 Oshawa

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