Kitchener-Waterloo

McLennan Park upgrades mean splash pad, lawn closed for summer

Repair work in Kitchener's McLennan Park is set to begin early next month, which means parts of the park will be off-limits. That includes the splash pad and the great lawn.

Repair work in Kitchener park set to begin in June and will take until November

Parts of McLennan Park in Kitchener will be closed this summer as regional staff replace a clay cap that covers the former landfill and Kitchener city staff make upgrades to the green space. (Google StreetView)

Kitchener's McLennan Park is set to get a facelift, but the repair work will mean some parts of the green space will be closed to the public this summer.

Neighbours have complained about the unsightly parts of the park — rotting wood chips and muddy grass — as well as a lack of shade.

The park is in city councillor Paul Singh's ward and he said although it will be an inconvenience to have parts of the park closed, it's necessary work.

"To be honest, it's been frustrating to have the park look the way it does. You've got wood chips that have been decaying over the last three years, it's a muddy field," he said.

"So it's pains that we'll have to go through, but it's something that's absolutely necessary."

Great lawn to be reseeded

The park is located on a former landfill site. There is a need to restore the landfill clay cap, which covers the landfill and then grass is grown on top of the cap. This will be the focus of the region's work.

Then the great lawn will be repaired and reseeded, but while that work is underway, some parts of the park will be off limits. That includes the entrance off Blackhorne Drive as well as the volleyball courts, gazebo, a small portion of the playground and the splash pad.

With Kiwanis Park also closed this summer as a new pool it put in, Singh said the loss of the splash pad is significant.

"We're working with the consultant and the contractor to do the work in a phased format so that the splash pad hopefully could be brought back online earlier than anticipated so there could be some use in the summer," Singh said, adding that it might not be feasible.
This map shows the proposed upgrades to McLennan Park in Kitchener. (City of Kitchener)

Users want more shade

Park users have been advocating for a place to escape the sun in the park, particularly when using the playground and splash pad, said Dan Ritz, Kitchener's supervisor of design and development.

"They need more shade. That's the number one thing we've heard," Ritz said. "They want some shade, whether that's under mature trees or whether that's an additional shade structure."

Residents have also wondered why the park was never repaired after a music festival seemed to leave the grass torn up, but Ritz said the aftermath of that festival, city and regional staff did testing to make sure it was safe.

"At that time, we did have some red flags [that] came up that we needed to improve the cap," he said.

Dog park still open

Ritz said there are still areas of the park that will be open, including the Ottawa Street entrance, "so you can come into the park and still use all the parking lots."

The dog park will remain open as well as the bike park, the playground, the skatepark, the basketball court and the washrooms.

"The big message for us this summer is we're encouraging park users just to be safe. Observe the construction signs and stay out of the construction area," Ritz said. "The sooner we can get our construction done, the sooner the park can be improved and the sooner we can open it."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.