Plans for large Community Parks

The Norm Jack community park in Dundalk is described as 6.5 acres, but the green space adjoins the open areas along the creek where buildings can go, so the area for public use will be larger.

In that park, there will be some mini-soccer fields for casual play and some parking. A tall berm will create a slope that young children can use as a toboggan hill, Mr. Green said. Possible other uses include a dog park, 3-on-3 basketball court, a volleyball net on a grassed area and disc (frisbee) golf.

Unfortunately, access to parking for that park is off Colgan Crescent – “and it’s nowhere close to being built”, Mr. Green said. While there is a walking trail that leads there, a park can’t be opened if emergency vehicles can’t reach it.

Based on where things are now in Norm Jack park, Mr. Green said the land might not be ready for Southgate to assume for two to three years.


Mr. Green said that the recreation strategy is to take parkland the township receives from developers, and use some of it to build up larger areas. That makes things like regulation sports fields possible.

“Every phase will still have a Neighbourhood Park,” he said, “we just took less in size to create a Community Park”.

This is a point that some members of council reacted against in considering Flato Glenelg 3.

After using some parkland the township was entitled to elsewhere, the move leaves a neighbourhood park sized about a half-acre for some 400 units of housing.


Standards for amounts of parkland vary. For example, two nearby municipalities had consultants do master recreation plans. Each put forward different standards.

In North Wellington, the report said that houses in town should be within 500 m (½ km) from a park. They suggested about the municipality have seven acres (2.75 hectares) per 1,000 residents.

That report said that a neighbourhood park should be 1.25 acres or larger (0.5 hectares).

In Grey Highlands, the consultant’s suggestion was that houses should be within an 800-metre walk of a park, what it called a 10-minute walk. It set a goal of about 12 acres (4.5 to 5 ha) per 1,000 residents.

That information comes from the reports, but the municipality has the ability to choose what it will adopt and what it will adapt.

Southgate does not state the guidelines in the same form as the consultants, but Mr. Green said the municipality is trying to assure one neighbourhood park per development.

The White Rose builder in its first phase took over a project which was planned much earlier, and does not have a park area.

There are sizable parks throughout rural Southgate – in Hopeville, Proton Station, Swinton Park, Holstein and Dromore.


The latest plan for a large new recreational area is on land the township is to acquire from Flato along Grey Road 9 west of the cemetery.

The township has taken some of its five-percent land allocation from each development and made smaller community parks to gather the land for larger sites.

The whole area is about 16 acres. Much of that will be a site for a multi-use building, including offices, with parking which has yet to be planned. Council set aside money for a consultant in this year’s budget.

Under consideration there are a splash pad, an outdoor ice surface, and a three-quarter sized field house with artificial turf for year-round use. The splashpad is in the capital budget already, but the final location hasn’t been decided.

Southgate Recreation has identified a need for a full-sized gym with a walking track, he said.

The timing for the complex? “We want it sooner than later,” Mr. Green said. But he added that probably the earliest would be three years.

Other possible uses listed in the Recreation Action Plan include:

• Community Hall

• Seniors and Youth Drop in

• Theatre

• Racquetball

• Food Court

A rough split might be about eight to 10 acres for the facility and parking with about six acres for other uses, Mr. Green said.

Also on the west side, but further south in EcoPark Phase II, some of the land acquired through recent land swaps with Flato is planned for playing fields.

Right now, the vision is for two youth soccer fields, two full soccer fields (one lit), two ball diamonds (both lit), and a playground with a parking area.


The planning act governs parkland dedication by subdivision builders. Five percent of the land, or if the municipality chooses, cash-in-lieu can be taken for residential developments. (It’s two percent for Commercial/Industrial).

For smaller projects like infill lots or rural lot severances, Southgate charges a $3,500 parkland fee.

The part of capital costs for recreation that are due to growth qualify for DCs. There needs to be a study on projected costs, and that’s used to set the rates.

Soaring construction costs are affecting Southgate’s budget for recreation facilities.

A few years ago, Mr. Green said, you could light a playing field for $200,000, and now it would probably cost $500,000.

“Because of construction costs soaring, what you can do with the DC charges is less.” That shortfall of estimates as compared to present costs is something that Southgate will address, as consultants are working right now on preparing a new Development Charge.

An updated estimate for the recreation costs due to growth will be part of that.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald