News Local

Parks, recreation master plan making progress

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Petawawa parks and recreation manager Kelly Williams.

Petawawa parks and recreation manager Kelly Williams.

 

PETAWAWA – The town is making progress with its 10-year parks and recreation master plan with 72 per cent of its 50 recommendations already actioned.

Adopted by council in 2011, the plan provides a comprehensive strategy that addressed present and future community recreational needs and both municipal and community recreational and cultural services available to residents. Additionally, the plan looked at the condition of municipal parks and green spaces and provided recommendations regarding park and green space improvements, municipal tree maintenance, preservation and protection.

Parks and recreation manager Kelly Williams said during his report to council that he has no overall concerns that the plan will be fully implemented noting the largest growth area has been program services.

“The community is grabbing hold of the programs we are offering,” he said.

The institution of program services with a focus on outdoor recreation has enhanced and increased the use of the town's outdoor properties and facilities, Williams noted. The construction of outdoor facilities, such as the Construction Yard Bike Park, Civic Centre Splashpad and Scentral Bark Dog Park, have enhanced outdoor recreational offerings to residents. The addition of outdoor recreational programming including events has brought awareness to the richness of outdoor recreation opportunities available locally while increasing usage and participation amongst residents, he added.

While many of Petawawa’s forests have been destroyed by commercial and residential development, the town has made strides to protected and preserve while green spaces the municipality has left. The development of a municipal tree management plan is currently planned for 2018. The plan will focus on sustainable management of current tree assets including street trees, trees located in key park areas and municipal forests. While Councillor Treena Lemay appreciated that parks are benefiting from more tree plantings, she expressed concern that Centennial Park and the Catwalk were not living up to their full potential.

“This nice area is not used as much as it use to be,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns renewed calls plans to fix the physical Catwalk wall, which has suffered from age and deterioration. Another complaint from councillors was the lack of parking spaces at the Petawawa Point boat launching site, something that Williams admitted will be difficult to address.

“It's a small park, not a marina,” he said. “We don't have enough land there to do much with it.”

Neighbourhood parks have undergone capital refurbishment with the addition of benches, picnic table and waste receptacle replacements and dozens of tree plantings to increase tree canopy cover. Williams also lauded strategic partnerships with the Renfrew County District School Board in the construction of a new track and field and the signing of reciprocal use agreements. The town has also worked closely with Garrison Petawawa on Petawawa’s 150th anniversary and the Vimy 100th anniversary celebration. Other notable partnerships he pointed out included the Healthy Kids Community Challenge with the County of Renfrew and the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival with the City of Pembroke.

SChase@postmedia.com