Rec master plan calls for improvements to Cornwall's Guindon Park

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The Cornwall draft recreation master plan, released earlier this year, is calling for further development within the city’s largest park — Guindon Park.

The recreation master plan, which has yet to be adopted by council, lays out recommendations for the way in which Cornwall will tackle recreation for the next 10 years.

In creating the master plan, feedback from residents who use Guindon Park was solicited. According to the document, 71 per cent of overall respondents had visited the park within the past year, most commonly for walking or hiking. Residents in the western part of town were more likely to visit the park, as opposed to residents living in the east end.

Of those surveyed, 73 per cent said they were satisfied with the quality of the park. Despite that, several recommendations in how the park could be improved were received. These included enhanced maintenance, trail improvements, additional outdoor recreation amenities, and new infrastructure and services.

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Although the city’s 2019 waterfront plan already presented a list of recommendations for the park, the master plan features more of them — picnic-area improvements, trail improvements, development of heritage and nature-based educational programing and activities, and the facilitation of special events within the park.

The document recommends a Guindon Park strategic master plan should be developed using the 2019 waterfront plan as well as the research from the 2020 recreation master plan. The strategic master plan would include a handful of medium-term recommendations, such as development of a BMX skills park, beach improvements, and the development of a campground — guided by a feasibility study.

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Long-term recommendations on the other hand, would include a floating playground, an observation tower or deck, as well as a stargazing area. Both the medium- and long-term recommendations would be subject to studies and may require partnerships with other entities.

City council asked administration to create a report on the feasibility of creating a city-owned campground within Guindon Park in November.

“I’ve been sitting on this for nearly four years,” said Coun. Todd Bennett at the time. “I know this has been kicking around for quite some time. Now is the time to take advantage of this beautiful space we have that is very much underused. More and more camping is becoming more popular where you go.”

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The report, which should be presented to council this year, will feature what would be needed from the city in order to create the campground as well as its associated costs.

The draft master plan also indicated that more park space will be needed in the city’s east end. Cornwall currently has a parkland provision rate of 6.6 hectares per 1,000 residents — far exceeding other comparable mid-sized municipalities which strive to have about two to three hectares per 1,000 residents. Yet 73 per cent of Cornwall’s park space is made up of Guindon Park, which measures a whopping 235.48 hectares. Without it, the city’s provision would dwindle down to 1.8 hectares per 1,000 residents.

Excluding Guindon Park, the east end of town possesses a one hectare per 1,000 resident park provision. To remedy the situation, the master plan calls for the creation of new parks in growing subdivisions — East Ridge as well as on the former Courtaulds lands.

fracine@postmedia.com

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