A master plan for a new community park in Wellesley is now in the works for the corner of Hutchison and Queen’s Bush roads.
To help with the plans, the township is planning a public open house next month to collect resident feedback.
“The reason for this master plan is to determine the wishes and needs of the residents of the municipality,” said Rik Louwagie, Wellesley’s chief administration officer. “Our consultant has already done interviews with focus groups. Basically, the focus groups are stakeholders that would mostly use our recreation facilities. And the staff, and the council. From that information, they are now preparing a concept drawing of things that those focus groups and key stakeholders have identified. That concept drawing will then be presented on September 19 at a public information session.
“So based on that night then, they’re going to take any feedback they hear, and they might do a few minor tweaks to that plan.”
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The township has retained the consulting team of FJ Galloway Associates to coordinate the process and create an effective schematic design that would align with the recreational interests of the residents. The space area is currently 40 acres in total, eight of which is bush land.
“I’m all for trails and pathways that are safe,” said Elaine Beck, a Wellesley resident, on possible park amenities. “It’s something I feel is missing in our town.”
The township is currently responsible for the management of other services and amenities including approximately 26 hectares of park, four hectares of open space, and 2.5 kilometres of trails and pathways. Wellesley also manages one community garden, two arenas, three community centres, seven playgrounds, one dog park, and seven sports fields.
“I love the idea of parks; however I would need to know that it would be safely accessible prior to any construction,” added Beck. “I particularly love that our current parks are centralized and easy for our children to get to safely.”
The intention is to spread the message of the open house through the Wellesley website, electronic display boards, and social media. They want to get the message out so that they can tailor the park according to the wishes of the residents. The idea of this park has been considered since 2017.
“I think one of the important things is that there was a drawing prepared by Fanshawe College students in 2017,” said Louwagie. “And that was simply a drawing based on what those students thought would be a good idea for the township. And the reason for those drawings was just to get the township talking, to see how much interest there was, and to get people thinking about what they did want on this land. So those were strictly a concept, there was nothing concrete about them. It was for discussion only. And that’s why we’re doing the full master plan now is to find out what residents want and need in this township.”
An online survey will be conducted after the community open house date so that every resident in the township can add their voice to the conversation of what they would like to see with this park.
Anyone interested in contributing to the discussion can attend the open house meeting at Crosshill Mennonite Church, 2537 Hutchison Rd., on September 19 from 5-7 p.m. Alternatively, residents can submit their opinions on the online survey after that date at Township of Wellesley, or call the township at 519-699-4611.