Ottawa

City eyes extensive new park for Orléans

An eight-hectare expanse of agricultural land on Ottawa's eastern edge could soon be transformed into a multifaceted park to serve the area's sprouting suburbs.

Initial concepts include hockey rink, walking paths, BMX track, skateboard park

An initial concept design for the proposed park includes sports fields, walking paths, a pond, a BMX track and a toboggan hill. (City of Ottawa)

An eight-hectare expanse of agricultural land on Ottawa's eastern edge could soon be transformed into a multifaceted park to serve the area's sprouting suburbs.

The city has already drawn up two concept plans for the land which include walking paths, sports facilities, a BMX track and a hockey rink.

The property sits next to François Dupuis Recreation Centre at 2263 Portobello Blvd., which houses a public pool and fitness centre.

Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais said the park would serve the thousands of families moving into new homes in the area.

"There's a lot of people and a lot of families [who] are going to want a place to play, walk the dog, go for a hike and just enjoy being outdoors," he said.

Land marked agricultural 

First, city staff need to find out if they're allowed to use the land, which is zoned for agricultural uses, for park space. The city's agriculture and rural affairs committee voted Thursday to start that process.

Blais worries if the city doesn't make use of the land soon, the chance to preserve it as parkland could be lost to developers.

"Orléans basically wraps around this parcel on all sides," he said.

West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El-Chantiry asked if moving ahead with the park — and using urban agricultural land for suburban amenities — would set a bad precedent. City staff told him the Orléans site is unique because it's already used by people who enjoy the adjacent recreation centre.

Once city staff decide the land is suitable for a park, final concept plans will be drawn up. After that, council will still need to find the money to build it.

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