If you missed the open house on the future of Knollwood Park on September 10, you can still have your say on the park’s future.
Overall, I really liked the concepts presented. I don’t think that any one concept is the perfect fit. I suspect the best one will be a mix of the ideas presented perhaps with a few new tweaks.
Playground on Borden
From my experience, the most used area of the park by neighbours is the playground equipment along Borden. My immediate concern was that none of the proposals showed any changes to the existing playground equipment. Having given the matter some more thought and having visited McLellan Park, I think that what is really needed is to add some of the newer types of playground equipment and replace the gravel with wood chips. I’d keep the existing swings that are much better than the McLellan Park ones and the silver slide. But more equipment for older kids (6 – 12) would be helpful. The possible splashpad might be nice but is less important than the other improvements.
There is a plaque posted in memory of Farwell that should definitely stay in the playground area.
I’ve been tobogganing at Knollwood Park for most of my life. It’s a great hill for younger kids and a part of the neighbourhood’s traditional use of the park. Some of the concepts would affect tobogganing or prevent this use from continuing. We must make sure that this continues to be a part of the memory of children growing up nearby.
The path I like best has a connection to both the Borden/Weber corner of the park and the Stirling/East Ave. corner of the park. I think this reflects two entrances to the park not currently served by a path and will help people coming from south of Weber and pushing strollers, pulling wagons or riding bikes get to the playground.
I also like the path to a gathering area near the Borden/East Ave. corner that can be easily used by the seniors who live across the street. I’d connect that area to the main path by going down the gentler slope of the hill closer to East Ave rather than taking out the toboggan hill.
I like the idea of a gazebo and support the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association proposal to add on with storage for its programs. I understand the ANA suggests using it’s $10,000 Festival of Neighbourhood capital improvement grant for that purpose. This enhancement has the greatest potential of all the proposed changes to add a new community-building asset for people living in the vicinity of the park.
I was surprised at how often I heard people mention parking for Rangers fans as a concern for the park. Curb cutouts that allowed access to the former hydro substation are being removed to make access to parking on the park along Stirling more difficult. I also heard though that Sheppard School opens the barriers that prevent cars from its paved play area on game nights because if they didn’t people would drive on the grass to go around the barriers and damage the school’s grass play area. I understand the school would prefer not to have it’s paved area used for parking but allowing it causes fewer problems (though it does affect access to the school itself).
To me this means that the design of the renovated park must take into consideration the desire of people to park as closely to the auditorium as possible and to prevent it where it is not desired. It also demonstrates that more consistent, proactive enforcement is required than the park area has seen in the past. But most importantly it demonstrates to me that the city and the Rangers must follow through on their plans to reduce the need for parking outside of the Auditorium’s property including a significant role by Grand River Transit.
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