The Carlington Summit
by Matthew Darwin.

On October 28, the City of Ottawa held a public meeting at J. Alph Dulude Arena to show plans for, and get community input on the design of the park area in the Central Park development.

Approximately 50 people attended this meeting including City Councillor Jim Bickford; Janette Foo, Commissioner of Community Services; Paul Landry, Project Manager for the park; and several representatives from Ashcroft Homes.

The meeting started with the Mr. Landry of the City presenting a plan similar to one that many area residents had seen previously. The proposed park plan would feature a storm water treatment pond, a full-sized baseball diamond, a full-sized soccer pitch, a basketball court a tot-lot, a lighted path leading from the south end to the north end of the park, as well as to the east. Across the street from the northern end of the park, there would be a greenway corridor that would have a tot-lot and link up with the NCC bicycle path. The eastern end of the park would have a path that would end up on Crystal Park Drive near the current sales centre path.

Mr. Landry opened the floor to the attendees. Needless to say the discussion was quite lively at times. A facilitator may have helped somewhat, although the concerns of residents came across loud and clear. Some residents were concerned about the noise that might come from the basketball court late at night. Others were concerned that the City would schedule events into the soccer and baseball fields and that the park would be basically for league play. With the potential of scheduled events, other residents wanted to know where all those cars would park.

A suggestion, which seem to get the approval of most in attendance, was to eliminate the baseball diamond and basketball court and replace them with a tennis court. It was also suggested that the pond have a shallower slope to the edges. This would cause it to take up slightly more space, but since the baseball diamond was eliminated this wouldn't be a problem.

One person who was not a resident of Central Park wanted to see several Ultimate Frisbee fields set up in the park. Someone then suggested that the goal posts on the soccer field be made removable so that it could be used for Ultimate Frisbee.

Attendees were also informed that the soccer field could become a skating rink in the winter, if a request was put into the City.

Near the end of the meeting, there was some question as to the timing of the next city proposal. After Ms. Foo and Mr. Choo had a brief conference, it was decided that the next set of plans were to be available in two weeks. Mr. Choo indicated that if approval for the park could be given soon, then he would start construction this fall.

On November 9th, the City provided an updated plan to the Central Park Citizens Group. This plan took into consideration the comments at the public meeting by eliminating the baseball diamond and basketball courts and creating a tennis court.