OOE Residents plan new Oblates park

By T.L Di Giacomo

At the beginning of June, Old Ottawa East residents and the city met to discuss the design for a park to be included in development of the Oblates lands adjacent to Saint Paul University.

Organizers presented possible layouts.

The city proposed a park with a large farmers market (32, 52, or 80 stalls), a small entrance, site furniture and trees. Officials also recommended the site include one main feature, ideas for which were posted around the room, as well as several heritage features.

Jessica Pelacios of engineering firm Novatech told residents that temperature and shade had to be considered. A northwest wind blows through the area, which might make things a little chilly. At the same time, even with the large number of trees the city intends to plant, the space will likely lack shade.

Pelacios explained some of the trees currently surrounding the area are in very poor, even dangerous condition. They must be removed. The trees that will replace them are expected to be large. They might interfere with the root system of remaining trees.

She suggested this might mean removal of all trees. The city would replace them with new ones. Special grass is to be installed, strong enough to withstand parked vehicles.

The city indicated it was taking the division of public and private space seriously. As many as 1000 new units will go into the new development.

Participants at the meeting broke off into discussion groups to tackle what people did and did not like about ideas the city had set out.

Green space was very important to most participants.

“This is our only new park,” one said. “Don’t pave it!”

Elements that encouraged activity, such as tables for ping-pong and chess, as well as grassy areas for bocce or Frisbee also won residents’ favour. People wanted a stage for special events.

Many were fond of the idea of a 10 x 25-metre splash pad. A few recommended the splash pad convert into a skating rink in winter.

Not all questions could be resolved. Issues such as parking and the separation of pedestrians and cyclists remained. People couldn’t answer whether park seating should be temporary or permanent or whether a large farmers market might have a negative impact on nearby outdoor cafés.

Plans were to be finalized at the end of June.

For more information, please visit oblatesredevelopment.com and ottawaeast.ca.

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