To that end, the township is hosting an open forum tonight (Thursday) to field questions from residents, hear suggestions, as well as offer the opportunity to look at some conceptual plans of how the space could be used.
“We want people’s say. We really need them to be involved,” said recreation director Brad Voisin.
Council approved the purchase of the land last fall. The land is located on the corner of Queen’s Bush and Hutchison roads.
Wellesley purchased the land for future recreation purposes, as recommended through public consultations during the 2014 recreation and culture master plan process.
“The master plan discusses bigger and regulation-size soccer fields for Wellesley, more trails, a skateboard park, possible tennis courts,” Voisin said of some ideas proposed for the land.
The township also partnered with the Fanshawe College landscape design program to develop 10 conceptual plans to get some ideas of how the space could be used. They’ll be on display at Thursday night’s forum.
“They’re just conceptual plans. Nothing has been brought to council. It’s just an idea to get a conversation going on more of what the people would like to see,” Voisin said.
He says the last time the township purchased recreation land was in 2004 to build the Linwood Community Centre.
From what he’s heard in the community, there’s a desire for more recreational opportunities from residents, township-wide.
“Right now the parkland in Wellesley where the arena is, the community centre, the splash park, the leash-free dog park, skateboard stuff, ball diamonds, it’s packed in so tight. It’s very, very congested and the current soccer fields are not regulation size, so that eliminates hosting sanctioned tournaments,” Voisin explained.
All 40 acres won’t be developed right away. Voisin says how fast it is developed will depend on the community’s involvement.
He encourages residents to come ask questions and provide their own suggestions.
“At this point we have no idea what will be on the land, but hopefully the township residents look at it and get interested and we need their input. It’s their land,” Voisin said.
The open forum will be held today (Thursday) from 5-7:30 p.m. at Crosshill Mennonite Church (2357 Hutchison Rd.). Light snacks and refreshments will be available, as well as township staff and the Fanshawe design students.
“It’s going to be a long-term project. It’s going to be up to the citizens of the township on fundraising, on grants. We’re hoping that community groups grab onto it and decide what they’d like to see first.”