Developer fees to bring $70,000 in improvements to local parks

Community groups recommended to city Coun. David Chernushenko that the bulk of Old Ottawa East’s share of development charges – about $70,000 – be set aside to go towards biking / skateboarding facilities or new indoor community space.

Representatives of the Community Activities Group, Sustainable Living Ottawa East, the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, and the Old Ottawa East Community Association  worked together to determine priorities for OOE’s share of the fees the city charges developers.

Their key long-term goal was the creation of a skateboarding / BMX cycling facility, possibly in Ballantyne Park on the north side of Hawthorne Avenue, just west of Main Street.

The other potential use they saw for the funding was the addition of more indoor activity space at the Old Town Hall or other community location.

This year, the city will spend aout $25,000 on picnic tables, garbage cans and notice boards  in OOE community parks.

The city raised the funds through fees to developers. The money could only be used to acquire land for public parks and recreation facilities or for park land capital projects.

The groups were surprised at the cost of  the new amenities. City staff said the installations had to meet a prescribed standard to minimize ongoing operational costs.

Three garbage receptacles for Springhurst Park would cost $1,700 each. Picnic tables carried $2,500 price tags. A new community notice board for the Lees apartment building area at 166 Lees Ave. would cost $4,500 and benches and boulders for sitting along the river would cost a further $10,000.

Community representatives asked the city to resurface the Brantwood and Springhurst basketball courts but were turned down because the projects were ineligible for the development funding.

The city also turned down a suggestion to use some funding to save ash trees from the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle.

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