Waterloo Park to receive upgrades in 2015

Photo by Serena Gill

Photo by Serena Gill

The city of Waterloo is set to see drastic changes and improvements to its parks over the next four years. The city’s core green space, Waterloo Park, which is located between the universities and is at the centre of new urban development, will see the first changes coming in 2015.

The upgrades are dependent upon recommendations from the Waterloo Park Master Plan, a set of upgrades proposed for the park in 2009.

The exact schedule of upgrades has not yet been set, and will be determined through consultation with the Waterloo Park Advisory Committee later this year.

“There are some exciting things happening with the ION associated with the park. There’s a station in the park, so we’re working with the region for the integration of the station within the park,” said Eckhard Pastrik, director of environment and parks at the City of Waterloo. “We’re working on integration of the promenade — that’s the north-south trail, the busiest trail section in the region — and how we integrate that with the LRT.”

Other imminent upgrades to Waterloo Park include parking lot upgrades that will complete the update to the new Waterloo Park West frontage.

The new frontage opened last year and featured a new accessible playground with a water feature, treed seating and picnic areas.

“Back in 2009 when we approved the master plan we had a number of priorities identified, and one of the major things we implemented last year was the Father David Bauer frontage project that made an accessible playground and a series of green rooms for sitting and so on,” said Pastrik.

Other changes that will take place in the park during 2015 also include the construction of a second crossing over Laurel Creek.

This will link and support the interior perimeter walkway of Waterloo Park, which is currently around 2.8 kilometres long.

“There are a number of things we’re trying to achieve. It’s the premier park in the city — it’s the original park, it dates back to 1890,” said Pastrik. “This is a destination park and one of the main functions we’re looking at the park serving is a community gathering area with the establishment of a festival area.”

The funding for the Waterloo Park Master Plan was already approved in December of 2014 through a staff report specifying financial planning and purchasing for 2015.

The report passed the early approval of certain capital projects, with others still waiting approval by city council in February when the city’s budget is finalized and set.

The budget for this project will be $311,000, with $191,000 of the funding coming from the city’s capital reserve fund and $120,000 from the development charges reserve fund.

“The Waterloo Park Master Plan is a vision for what our central park will look like in 20 years,” said Waterloo city councillor, Jeff Henry. “The LRT project means this is the right time to upgrade the central promenade in the park, which is also a major pedestrian and cyclist transportation corridor.”

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