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New site for Robert Moore Park receives initial approval

City of BrantfordNew site for Robert Moore Park receives initial approval

City of Brantford Council members have unanimously voted to consider a new location for Robert Moore Park during a Committee of the Whole, Operations meeting on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

On June 13, 2023, during a Special City Council meeting, council members discussed moving the location of Robert Moore Park, currently at 115 Albion St. to 17-23 Syndeham St..

The discussion came after the City approved an unexpected offer for the 115 Albion St. plot of land. One third of the land is already privately owned, where the other two-thirds were owned by the City.  

The proceeds of the sale were to be used redirected to offset the costs of the park’s new location at 17-23 Sydeham St.

A neighbourhood meeting was held on Tuesday, July 15, 2023 and neighbours expressed their concerns about the newly proposed location.

“After that meeting, it was very clear that the citizens of that neighbourhood were not in favor of the actual park being located where it was originally scheduled to be [17-23 Sydenham St.],” said Councillor Gino Caputo.

Councillor John Sless echoed his ward mate.

“Caputo and I hosted a ward meeting. We heard very loud and clear that the proposed site was hidden, it was behind houses, it didn’t have good access, there weren’t good eyes on the park and it just didn’t make a lot of sense,” said Sless. “So a lot of the things that we and that the neighbourhood association wanted to have in the neighborhood just wouldn’t fit.”

Since listening to residents’ concerns, and having conversation with City Staff, a new location for the park has been discussed for 22 Sydenham St. as it would be better suited for the development of the park.

“With the potential growth in that area …it just seemed logical to be able to use the larger parcel of land, which will allow us to be able to do something on the additional parcel as we go forward,” said Caputo. “The people in that Brantford Station area, they deserve to have a park such as this right now. They’ve been working out of Robert Moore, which is older and aging, and has a picnic table. …Doing this for this community would be absolutely fantastic for the city, for the community, as well as for all the potential growth and everybody that’s going to be in that area.”

Caputo asked that the funds from the sale of 115 Albion St. be officially redirected to 22 Sydenham St..

Councillor Brian Van Tilborg said that he would be happy to support the resolution and that “it’s amazing what you get when you have community consultation.”

Councillor Richard Carpenter also said he would support the change.

“At 22 Sydenham St., actually, the front of that park, the majority of it will front onto Pearl Street, which is a good thing. We’ve found that parks that front onto streets, and the more streets the better, have less vandalism happening,” said Carpenter.

He also noted that because the potential plans for the park include a splash pad, the area is a good candidate.

“We get studies from Staff to tell us where splash pads should go, and really, you just have to go to Google, type in an address and look around and see how many pools you can count. When you can’t count pools, they need a splash pad there,” he said. “So, this park is certainly a number one candidate for a splash pad because the area doesn’t have backyards with lots of pools in them. That’s where splash pads need to go, not strategically because someone said ‘we need to have so many in every ward,’ you have to go where the need is.”

Councillor Dan McCreary asked Staff if there was a budget established for construction yet.

“There is an allocation in the 2024 Capital Program that includes the assumption of the proceeds from the sale, a component related to the original Robert Moore Park rehabilitation, and the potential splashpad allocation,” responded Rick Cox, Director of Parks and Recreation. “All of that has been built into an allocation that will be coming forward to council through the Mayor’s process, and then to council for the Capital Plan in 2024.”

Inderjit Hans, Commissioner of Public Works, noted that there was around 1.2 million for the park-use builds on the site.

Sless then noted that the neighbourhood in that area is coming alive and the new park is something they can be proud of.

“Through the neighbourhood association, that neighbourhood is building into a little community and it’s really coming alive as there’s new development proposed for the area,” he said. “The whole area is being rejuvenated and I think they’re excited and looking forward to this. I think you’ll see very, very minimal vandalism because they’re proud of what they have, and they’ll look after what they get. So I’m pleased to hear everybody is supportive.”

A vote of 10-0 saw the resolution unanimously approved. The topic will come back to council for final approval later this month.

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