Make Dundonald Park better

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Dundonald Park is a wonderful green space in a downtown core that doesn’t have a lot of central park space.

The Centretown Community Health Centre (Centretown CHC) successfully applied for some help from the 8-80 Cities Make a Place for People initiative to work on a Dundonald Park improvement plan.

There are two upcoming meetings:

  • June 7, 2012 at the Legion (330 Kent) at 7pm (see flyer)
  • June 9, 2012 in the park from 10am to 2pm (see flyer)

The Centretown CHC also put out a call for volunteers – you learn how to do placemaking analysis, and observe how the park is used, or help to animate the park:

They also have more volunteer opportunities listed on their site.

You can follow their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ParcDundonaldPark for more information, they also tweet about the park and other things @CentretownCHC and you can email them specifically about the park at dundonaldpark@centretownchc.org Also 8-80 Cities’ Gil Penalosa tweets at @Penalosa_G

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If you want to tweet about the park the hashtag is #dparkott

I’ve written a list of ideas for improving Dundonald Park – feel free to add your comments and ideas.  It’s worth mentioning yet again that the single biggest improvement would be to replace the Beer Store and its mostly-empty parking lot with a mixed-use, mixed-income residential complex with ground-level retail (a cafe, butcher, baker and cheesemaker would be all great additions to the area).

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What used to be there was a nice row of traditional Ottawa houses

Somerset houses before Beer Store – from Urbsite Beer Store blog post

You can read more about the 1960 arrival of the Beer Store in a great Urbsite blog post.  Ah the 1960s.  Was there anything urban they couldn’t screw up?

It’s worth mentioning that the Centretown Community Design Plan (CDP) also covers the area of the park.  Section 2.4 Heritage (PDF) has a map that I think shows both the park and the Beer Store are not part of the Heritage overlay (someone please correct my understanding; I’m not an expert).

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This is what the CDP Chapter 5. Greening of Centretown (PDF) has to say about Dundonald.

Dundonald Park

Although similar in scale to McNabb Park, Dundonald Park plays a very different role within the community. First established in 1905 as passive recreation space, this role has been retained over the past century. Dundonald Park is an important heritage park in the neighbourhood. The importance of this park from a heritage perspective is reflected by the Heritage Overlay controls it is subject to. Similar to Centretown’s other heritage park, Minto Park, the role of Dundonald Park is to enrich the wider heritage context and act as a community destination for less active recreation.

As a heritage park, Dundonald Park should be of the highest design quality. To achieve this, the following improvements are recommended:

  • Existing asphalt sidewalks that edge the park should be removed and replaced with concrete.
  • Existing asphalt paths internal to the park should be removed and replaced with brick or textured paving that reflects a heritage sensibility.
  • When furniture is replaced over time, a coordinated palate should be introduced across the entire park (for furniture and paving materials).
  • Planting should be maintained by season (spring, summer and fall).
  • The existing fencing around the children’s play area should be used as the model for all Centretown’s park fencing.
  • The City should continue to support the impressive efforts of the Friends of Dundonald Park to enhance the park. The City should work with them in partnership to implement improvements to the park space.

If you don’t agree with the Design Plan’s view (or if you strongly agree with it), you should provide your feedback to the CDP (e.g. email the planner Robert Spicer at midcentretown@ottawa.ca ) and contact your councillor to make sure that the proposed improvements GET FUNDED.  (In general the city needs to provide more funding and maintenance of Dundonald.)  You can also contact the Centretown Citizen’s Community Association (Centretown CCA; CCCA).