Waterloo buys three properties for $1.5M to expand parkette near uptown

The City of Waterloo has bought three properties - 46, 48 and 50 William St. W. - to expand Alexandra Park. Coun. Melissa Durrell says now is the time for the city to invest in this park and make it something for everyone in the neighbourhood.

This is the time to invest in parks and green spaces, Coun. Melissa Durrell says

The City of Waterloo is investing nearly $1.5 million to buy homes on William Street West to expand Alexandra Park. Demolition will take place in the next few months and will mean the green space will go from William Street West to Alexandra Avenue. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Alexandra Park currently has two swings, a small play structure with five slides and a stationary car where children can pretend to drive on the open road.

But in the future, it could have a bike trail, maybe a shelter for a farmers' market, chess tables and something for everyone.

That's the dream for uptown Waterloo Coun. Melissa Durrell, who is behind a push for the city to purchase three buildings on William Street W. with a plan to demolish them and expand the park.

Councillors agreed this week to spend $1,494,000 to buy 46, 48 and 50 William St. W.

"If we don't invest in the green spaces now, they're going to cost a heck of a lot more more in five, 10, 15, 20 years," Durrell said, standing in the parkette, which she says is really only utilized by parents with small children, now.

"We're intensifying, and that means we're building up, which means our green spaces are becoming more and more precious. So I think any investment that you can make into a park or green space, it's a legacy piece for the community forever."

Buying all three properties 'desirable'

The purchase is being made using the city's parkland dedication reserve fund.

The property includes the former Beam's Bedding shop, which has a warehouse on the property. It's an odd flag-shaped lot, city staff said in a report to the finance and strategic planning committee, that also shares a driveway with 46 William St., so it is "desirable" to buy both parcels "to create a safer park with substantial frontage on William Street."

The warehouse is "in need of demolition" the staff report said while 46 William St. W. "is prone to flooding."

Once the sale is complete, staff will work towards demolishing the buildings as soon as possible, though that could be delayed because there are tenants in one of the buildings.

Once the buildings are demolished, city staff will seed the lands and the park will be expanded.
The City of Waterloo has purchased 46 (the white and green house), 48 (the red house) and 50 William St. W. (a warehouse behind the red house), to expand Alexandra Park. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Work with residents on park plan

What goes into the park will be decided at a later date, Durrell said.

Durrell said the warehouse has a unique roof to it, and it would be nice to use it for a shelter for events like farmers' markets, but that will depend on if that's a safe and viable option.

The city wants to talk to neighbourhood groups and residents to get a sense of what they'd like to see in the expanded Alexandra Park.
This warehouse at the back of 48/50 William St. W., is “in need of demolition," a staff report said. It will be torn down as Alexandra Park in Waterloo is expanded. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

"Uptown west has a lot of amenities close. Within two blocks they've got the uptown square, Waterloo Park is on the other side, so what's missing that can make this neighbourhood have, make this a gathering spot," she said.

"I think that it's up to [the residents] and we'll work with them to make sure that we plan a great, public space."


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