Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener scales back grass-cutting at McLennan Park hill

Grass maintenance has come to a halt due to other maintenance priorities in the park, and because the tobogganing spot is under review, said parks director Niall Lobley.
McLennan Park's hill is not closed this summer, parks director Niall Lobley said. (Google StreetView)

Those visiting McLennan Park in Kitchener this summer may have noticed the park's hill has been sporting a more natural look.

Grass on top of the hill is being mowed less frequently because maintenance of the park has changed, according to Niall Lobley, director of parks and cemeteries for the city.

Lobley said that's because the park's "great lawn," a large greenspace at the park, needs more intense maintenance.

"That's an irrigated area where we'll be taking a different level of service, a higher level of service," he said, adding the maintenance needed was similar to a sports field. 

The rest of the park is operating as normal on a two-week mowing cycle — provided the weather is not too wet or too hot.

One spot, though, is not being mowed. The section of the park's hill that is used as a tobogganing spot in the winter.

Summer means off-season 

That section of the hill was maintained for winter use in past years, but persistent ice on the hill made it unsafe, according to Lobley.

Now, they're letting the grass grow out while they review how to best prepare McLennan for tobogganers.

"We don't need to maintain the whole of that area throughout the whole of summer simply for its use as a toboggan hill," Lobley said.

"McLennan … is a much more rough, long grass environment and that has significant value for a range of wildlife, and so we wouldn't want to engage much more in terms of a sort of a manicured approach," he explained.

Lobley confirmed the hill remains open for the public's use, at their own discretion. 

He said the city does not plan on releasing notices about the area not being maintained.

Many of Kitchener's other parks feature "natural areas," Lobley added, that do not accommodate any specific services or activities for the public. They are usually established to promote biodiversity or protect an environmentally sensitive area and therefore not maintained.  

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