Lansdowne Park Playground Relocation 

 

The play equipment at Lansdowne Park, located at 174 Parkside Drive, is over 20 years old and is in need of replacement.

As part of the City’s playground Renovation and Rehabilitation Program, this playground has been scheduled for renovation in 2018-2019. However, there are many contributing factors that do not allow for a new playground to be installed where the existing playground is currently located in Lansdowne Park. Property lines, street access, size & shape of the park parcel and limited visibility into the site support the rationale for the relocation of the playground to another open space within the area. A site inventory and analysis of Lansdowne Park is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 EXISTING SITE PLAN ANALYSIS PDF

NEIGHBOURHOOD CONTEXT

Figure 2 and Figure 3 illustrate that although mapping of the Holmedale Neighbouhood identifies several green spaces, these parks do not currently include a playground. Recreation opportunities for children in the Parkside Drive Area are well beyond the 400-500m walking distance recommendation of the City of Brantford’s Parks & Recreation Masterplan. Figure 2 demonstrates a clear gap in recreation opportunities for children in the area without the relocation of play equipment from Lansdowne Park. Figure 3 outlines available play opportunities in the area and the lack thereof. Several other parks in the area are also scheduled for renovation in the next few years as the playground equipment in these locations is also outdated.

Figure 2 NEIGHBOURHOOD CONTEXT MAP PDF

Figure 3 LOCAL PLAY OPPORTUNITIES PDF

GREEN SPACE LOCATIONS

All green spaces within the area were considered as part of an open space analysis. Existing parks with playgrounds within the Holmedale Neighbourhood as a whole were eliminated from this analysis as they too have exceeded their life span and will be replaced in the near future. These parks include Dufferin Park, Spring Street Buck Park, Holmedale Park and Westdale Park. Open spaces considered as part of this analysis were Lincoln Square, Lansdowne-Costain School and Preston Park.

Lincoln Square, at 0.24 acres, is too small to accommodate a playground given the existing rink site and necessary setback from the surrounding road needed for a playground. This can be seen in Figure 4 below.

Figure 4 LINCOLN SQUARE SITE ANALYSIS PDF

Lansdowne-Costain School, shown in Figure 5 was also considered as a possible location. However, in order to maintain site lines into the playground, the only suitable location would be along Parkside Drive. Locating a new playground in this location would impact the existing baseball diamond and soccer field on school grounds.

Figure 5 LANSDOWNE SCHOOL SITE ANALYSIS PDF

Furthermore, these are not city owned lands and school board policy states that public access is not permitted during school hours. Many grandparents, stay at home parents or even students travelling from other schools would not be allowed access the playground during the day throughout the school year. For these reasons, Lansdowne-Costain School remains an unsuitable location for the relocation of Lansdowne Park Play Equipment.

PRESTON PARK

Based on an analysis of the neighbourhood, Preston Park was determined to be the most suitable location for a new playground.

Preston Park is a large horticultural park approximately 4.8 acres in size. The park consists of large mature trees, formal axis paths, beautiful floral beds and many large open turf areas. Used most frequently for dog walking and passive, quiet activities, this park is quite large and can easily accommodate a small playground without impacting the overall design and heritage character of the existing space. Preston Park is also located only a 500m walk from Lansdowne Park, ensuring that playground opportunities are available in the neighbourhood. It is also directly across from Lansdowne-Costain Elementary School (20m) and just a quick walk down the street from Christ the King Elementary School (630m) and W. Ross MacDonald School (700m) that is home to many children who reside in the neighbourhood.

Figures 6-8 outline that the playground will take up a very small amount of space within the existing park parcel. The total playground area is approximately 0.4 Acres and would be 50m x 250m in size. The playground includes a play area for children ages 2-12 years old with accessible engineered wood fibre surfacing, a double bay swing set and a sand play area. The design intent is to blend this new playground with the existing mature treed environment using natural items such as logs and boulders. Play equipment would also be painted neutral colours (greens and browns) to complement the treed space and serene atmosphere of Preston Park. All new playground renovations are accessible and inclusive, incorporating asphalt pathways, ground based inclusive play equipment design, transfer stations, accessible surfacing and an accessible swing.

Figure 6 PRESTON PARK SITE ANALYSIS

Figure 7 PRESTON PARK CONCEPT PROPOSAL 1

Figure 8 PRESTON PARK CONCEPT PROPOSAL 2

 

ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENTS COMPLETED

Neighbourhood Demographics

According to Canada’s 2011 census, the neighbourhood within 400m-500m proximity of Preston Park was made up of the following age group percentages (see Table 1) below:

 

Table 1 demonstrates that the age group most prevalent in the area at the time was residents 50 Years or older (a combined 42.5%),  with a large population of adults aged 20-49 (37.5%) also present. A neighbourhood demographics shift is apparent where many homes once occupied by residents aged 50+, now house young families with children.

With the presence of 3 elementary schools in this neighbourhood alone as well as an Ontario-wide school for the visually and hearing impaired, the need for a suitable play space becomes evident. This is shown on Figure 9 below. Lansdowne-Costain school’s entire school zone encompasses the Holmedale Neighbourhood. According to Student Transportation Services of Brant Halidmand Norfolk:

1. A total of 249 students attending Lansdowne-Costain School live within the neighbourhood and within a 2km (30 minute walk) distance to Preston Park and 38 students live within the 400m-500m buffer surrounding Preston Park.

2. 104 students who attend Christ the King School reside within the Holmedale neighbourhood and 14 within 400m-500m of Preston Park.

3. While Ecole Dufferin has a much larger school zone, 83 of 420 students reside within the Holmedale neighbourhood and 10 within direct proximity of Preston Park. 

Figure 9 NEIGHBOURHOOD DEMOGRAPHICS PDF

 

With an abundance of students between JK to grade 8 residing within the neighbourhood, the need for additional playground opportunities is apparent. Table 2 demonstrates a total of 441 students between the ages of 4-14 years of age live within the Holmedale Neighbourhood and of these, 62 live within close proximity to the proposed playground location.

 

 

During the public consultation process Parks & Recreation staff also reached out to W. Ross MacDonald School which houses students of all ages from all of Ontario with hearing and visual impairment. As part of their school curriculum, students are brought into the community by staff members and are taught how to navigate the city. Staff members from the Orientation and Mobility Department have reached out in positive support for the proposed playground as they often have to travel quite far in order to reach an accessible and inclusive playground for their students to experience. Preston Park is within walking distance and Orientation and Mobility Specialists have confirmed that this new playground would be visited by at least 36 students weekly. The school has also noted that this location would also be a suitable destination for entire classes of their junior student population to visit during the day as a field trip and would be used heavily by those students residing at the school.

Traffic

Concerns regarding the speed of cars on Parkside Drive and Preston Boulevard were raised by some neighbours as a potential safety issue with the proposed playground located too close to the road. The proposed playground location is situated across the road from Lansdowne-Costain School. There are 3 signs currently in place indicating Preston Blvd between Dufferin Ave and Parkside Drive as a “School Area”. Posted vehicular speed signage for Preston Boulevard is 40km/h.

The proposed playground is situated 15m from Preston Blvd which is within the standard 10-15m playground setback from roadways. The north side of the playground is located 30m from Parkside Drive which also has a posted vehicular speed of 40hm/h.

The proposed location has been reviewed with the City of Brantford Traffic Department, who have suggested additional “Playground Area” signage along Preston Blvd and Parkside Drive indicating to vehicles there are children at play in the vicinity.

Concerns regarding motorists exceeding posted speed limit signage may be directed to the Traffic Department at 519-759-4150.

Figure 10 AREA TRAFFIC SIGNAGE ANALYSIS

Sand Play – Wash your hands!

Comments regarding sand play and associated health concerns have also been identified by some residents during community consultation. In order to better understand this issue, Parks & Recreation Staff reached out to the Brant County Health Unit for further information. It was advised that while there are legitimate reasons for health concerns regarding sand, there are similar risks associated with wood chips, stone, dirt, grass and all aspects of an outdoor environment. The importance for parents and guardians to take care to ensure children do not ingest items found on the ground and to frequently wash hands was emphasized. It was also emphasized that washing hands is the most effective way of preventing health hazards.

From a children’s play and development perspective, sand play provides opportunities for “free play” which has many benefits:

- aid in developing fine motor skills

- help children to engage their proprioceptive sense

- develop language and social skills

- help form problem solving skills

- aid in creating an independent play experience by allowing parents to let their children play on their own through short distance supervision

- help to develop a sense of texture and plays a huge role in sensory play

- decrease child obesity

- most important of all, enhance creativity through imaginative play.

PLAYGROUND RENOVATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION COMPLETED TO DATE

Parks & Recreation Staff have hosted two community open houses and have been receiving calls and emails regarding the relocation of Lansdowne Park playground equipment.

Meeting #1

March 1st 2018 from 5-7pm

Lansdowne Costain School

 

 

Meeting Goal: Share plans for a new playground renovation to replace the existing playground equipment at Lansdowne Park, provide an explanation for the need to relocate the existing playground and obtain community feedback regarding alternate locations within the neighbourhood. Preston Park was suggested as a possible site.

Community Feedback Received from this meeting:  

Comments Received

Total # of respondents

In support of a new playground in Preston Park

7

In support of a new playground equipment/ a new playground in the neighbourhood

4

Supports the playground in Preston as long as it blends with the natural environment (neutral colours, nothing “sticking out” aesthetically – bright colours).

2

Likes the proposed location in the park

2

A new park in this area is greatly needed and we are looking forward to it

1

Preston park  already has natural play opportunities for children (trees, small hills)

2

Concerned about the heritage of Preston Park. This park was not designed for the function of a playground.

1

Preston park is for quite “passive” activity

6

Dislike Preston Park as the location for the new playground.

6

There is no need for another park in this neighbourhood (Not enough kids in the area to use a playground in Preston Park), There are enough parks in the neighbourhood already

2

Playground will devalue property

1

Preston park is great as it is. Dislikes the idea of touching Preston Park

3

School kids will leave school property to visit the playground, they already do to sit in the park

1

Show us evidence based numbers to prove there is a need for a playground here

 

1

New Playground will bring increased traffic to the neighbourhood

4

Adding a playground to Preston Park will increase teens hanging out in the park

1

New playground in Preston Park will increase animals in the park and there will be animal feces in the sand

1

Lansdowne Park is fine the way it is

4

Approach Developer to add a playground at Lansdowne if it becomes developed

1

Keep Lansdowne Park and add playground in the lower area

2

Lansdowne should remain the way it is or it will be left for weeds to take over

1

Interested in what will be happening to Lansdowne Park

1

Believes there is an ulterior motive to moving the park (City plans to sell to a developer who will redevelop the land with more housing)

1

Understands that the park needs to move

1

Put new playground at Lansdowne School

6

OPPOSED to moving the playground to the school (dependent on school board, limited development, restricted use/availability)

2

Spend more money in “Family Areas”

1

Put new playground at blind school

1

Sever off a piece of school property for the new park

1

Children and Grandchildren have used local parks since they moved to the area in 1964

1

Likes the meeting visuals, knowledgeable people and open minded stance, would have preferred a guided discussion.

1

Parks should be used!!

1

Add a community garden to the new playground

1

Please share plans online and gather input via an online survey

1

Encourage input from children

1

If the playground goes into preston park, it will need more lighting

1

Would like equipment that graduates in challenge, rubberized surfacing and a large playground

 

1

Not happy about construction noise that will be happening from new housing development

1

New housing development is already happening

3

 

Meeting #2

April 25th 2018 from 4:30-7pm

TB Costain Community Centre

 

Meeting Goal: To share a more realistic proposal for a playground in Preston Park and share information regarding neighbourhood playground needs – recreational gaps, provide concepts on other properties (Lansdowne Park, Lansdowne-Costain School), and obtain community feedback as to what they would like included in a new playground.

Community Feedback Received from this meeting:

Comments Received

Total # of respondents

Excited for a new playground in preston park  - in support of this proposal

16

There is a definite need in our area for a new playground

12

Neighbourhood is changing with many young families within proximity to preston park

3

Preston park is a large park, there is plenty of room for both quite passive recreation and a playground to meet neighbours needs

2

Worried about the health concerns of a sand box – many animals in the neighbourhood, “toxoplasmosis”

5

Concerned about an increase in cars parking along the street

1

Request the park to remain as is - a quite activities space (passive recreation only)

6

Preston Park is rarely used and parks budget would be huge based on a per user basis

1

Would be willing to public fund raise to enhance play equipment

1

No demographic, traffic or parking analysis studies have been completed

1

Only criteria to justify a new playground is a 400m rule

1

Need to demonstrate a need for a playground in the park through demographics

2

Meeting staff did not seem interested in a discussion as the decision has already been made for this location

1

Staff should review comments from the last meeting as they showcase a majority residents are not in favour of a playground in preston park

1

This proposal is being forced on residents to accept without proven justification

1

Playground needs to blend successfully with existing park

3

Quiet area for passive recreation must remain

1

Preston Park is a great space for young children to play

1

The school concepts would be better to keep the flow and neighbourhood feel as it is now while also accommodating the need for a new playground

2

Natural play using natural elements such a logs and rocks is very popular with children

2

No bright colours

1

Concerned about the traffic with 13 new houses going in near by

1

Add playground to bottom of glenhyrst gardens

1

Visit park frequently and never see any children at school playground or Lansdowne park

1

There are not many young kids in neighbourhood

3

Kids who attend the schools are driven in

1

Have you calculated how many kids are in the neighbourhood?

1

Would love to see solid surfacing (rubber) as the playground surface

2

There are other neighbourhoods with more kids that need more parks

1

The proposal looks amazing

2

Like the idea of an accessible playground

4

Will this playground affect the redevelopment of Dufferin park? Answer: No

1

Please get rid of the flag pole and broken steps –bad condition

1

The children in this neighbourhood deserve a quality playground

3

We like the way the playground blends well within the existing mature trees

1

The kids enjoyed partaking in the planning

2

Since the 2011 census, neighbourhood has changed significantly

1

Preston park should remain as is without any extra children or people

1

Students of w ross macdonald school will absolutely love this new playground located so close and would utilize on a daily bases in nice weather

2

Due to the population of our school [w. ross macdonald], being blind, visually impaired and deafblind, the experience of having a fully accessible and sensory featured park you described would be amazing.

2

The new playground would provide a wonderful destination to explore in our community that is close and easily accessible for our students to enjoy. 

1

Preston Park are currently an under used space and the benefits a playground will provide greatly outweigh any concerns about the potential noise created by young children enjoying themselves

2

We are grandparents of young children who reside in the area

1

We would love to hear the laughter of young children enjoying a safe new playground at preston park

1

Surely neighbours who live in the area will welcome our youngest members of the community into this currently underused space

1

We have young children, live in the area and would utilize this much needed park

8

The play equipment at Lansdowne park now is outdated and unsafe. We need a need playground in the area

2

A splash pad would be amazing – nothing on this end of town

3

I grew up in the neighbourhood and played in Preston Park as a child and appreciate and support the proposed changes

1

This playground would be a great addition to the community

 1

Would love a sand pit

1

LOCAL SCHOOL COMMUNITY CONSULTATION: STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

Parks & Recreation Staff always involve schools that fall within proximity of a park undergoing renovation in the playground selection/design process. One-two local schools to participate in our “in-class” presentation are chosen and we meet with 40 students grades 1-3 (sometimes 4 and 6) to help us pick what will be included in their new playground!

In order to involve as many students as possible, playground activity sheets are also distributed to every other student in the school to fill out. These are then compiled into a list of desired elements for each park playground. Activity sheets include all of the same information as our in class presentations.

For Lansdowne Park, Parks Staff visited Lansdowne-Costain Elementary Public School and presented to a group of 40 students in grades 1-3. In addition, playground activity sheets were distributed to the remainder of students at Lansdown-Costain School and all students of Christ the King School. Please find an overview of our school consultation below:

Lansdowne-Costain Student Playground Activity Sheets 1

Lansdowne-Costain Student Playground Activity Sheets 2

Christ the King Student Playground Activity Sheets 1

Christ the King Student Playground Activity Sheets 2

Project Contacts

For more information or to share your thoughts, please contact Parks & Recreation at 519-759-4150 or parksandtrails@brantford.ca