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Churchill Park Update (July 2019)

With Churchill Park undergoing construction, I wanted to provide a recap and an update on the project. Thank you to everyone who came out to the public meeting in May! Your input continues to help shape the park and ensure it is best for everyone in the community. I hope that the questions asked during the evening that did not receive an answer are addressed here.

With Churchill Park undergoing construction, I wanted to provide a recap and an update on the project. Thank you to everyone who came out to the public meeting in May! Your input continues to help shape the park and ensure it is best for everyone in the community. I hope that the questions asked during the evening that did not receive an answer are addressed here.

Churchill Park is managed by the City of Hamilton, while the land is owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens and is within the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area. The Niagara Escarpment Plan requires all park agencies to prepare a management plan for parks. The Churchill Park Management Plan process began in 2010. Brian McHattie, the Ward 1 Councillor at the time, put together a citizens group who worked with stakeholders to create a plan for the park, which was subsequently approved in 2014. After considerable public consultation, a plan for the Park was put forward to address some outstanding concerns and provide direction on how the Park would evolve in the years to come. The full management plan can be found here.  

The Vision and Goal for Churchill Park developed through the consultation process are:

Vision: Churchill Park is a unique, open and strikingly beautiful space that embraces the natural heritage of Cootes Paradise. Central to the community, the park enhances the health and well-being of everyone in all season.

Goal: Preserve our existing open space and encourage an adaptable, inviting, safe, beautiful and sustainable environment that reflects the community’s values, provides a community gathering place, and facilitates participation in activities for everyone.

The improvements to the park will be made in several phases. The first phase, currently under construction, addresses many of the short-term priorities. This includes several modifications to the park that will improve stormwater concerns in the Westdale North neighbourhood, which are only worsening due to climate change. With the necessary modifications, Churchill Park will effectively absorb stormwater into the ground, helping with flooding of other areas of the park, the Royal Botanical Gardens, nearby streets and houses. Phase one works also help to reduce erosion on the adjacent ravine slopes by capturing large flows and releasing the water in a controlled manner into the soils. 

Two large rain gardens have been constructed adjacent to the baseball diamonds. Rain gardens are designed depressions that allow rainwater runoff to be absorbed. Since soils within Churchill Park are very heavy in clay content, layers of gravel and high draining soil were installed to allow water to infiltrate the ground. There are also smaller dry ponds upstream of the rain gardens that will collect water during large storm events. Small amounts of standing water may occur in the dry ponds during storm events and for short periods afterwards but will eventually drain into the large rain gardens.

The large rain gardens will receive sod on the side slopes. The bottom of the basins will receive a wildflower and grass seed mix while the dry ponds will be seeded with a wet grass seed mix. All other areas will be sodded.

A network of vegetated swales along Parkside Drive has been installed and will be cultivated with plants approved by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. The swales will be left to naturalize once established. They will also receive mulch and the inlets on Parkside Drive will have rocks in place to reduce erosion and slow inlet flows.

Three berms have been placed in the park. These are raised mounds that are used to direct water to the swales and rain gardens. Originally, two berms were going to be 1.3m high while the third would be 2.2m high. However, after hearing your concerns about how the taller berm would impact the safety and enjoyment of the park, we obtained the necessary permissions from the Royal Botanical Garden, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, and the Niagara Escarpment Commission to reduce the height of the third berm to 1.3m.  

 

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The spray pad and swings will be retained however, there will be new playground equipment installed in the fall or spring. City staff were on site at the playground speaking with children and caregivers; children were asked to indicate with sticky dots the kind of equipment they favoured. A small shade structure and benches will be added beside the splash pad when funds become available. The final route for the path that connects the east and west sides of the park can be seen in the attached map. 

A granular pathway, seating area and benches are being installed near the Aviary. Public art will also be installed within this area after the construction of Phase 1 work is completed. No rain gardens will be located in this area.

Future phases of the project are to include rain gardens in the upper plateau of the park near the soccer field and cricket pitch, and several new pathways throughout the park. The grading of the upper plateau will be determined closer to when the second phase of the project will begin. The design will be reviewed by a certified CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) reviewer to ensure that no problem areas are created through the work.  In order to establish priorities for the next phase of work at the park, there will be additional public consultation sessions to help inform staff later this year.

In May, Hamilton experienced the highest amount of perception in almost two years. This not only underscores the need for stormwater management measures but has also delayed construction in Churchill Park.  Construction crews have been given permission to carry out construction on Saturdays, if weather permits, to help the project stay on schedule. 

Phase 1 is expected to be completed mid to late August, weather dependent.

 If you have any further questions about Churchill Park and the planned improvement, please reach out to the Ward 1 Office at ward1@hamilton.ca or 905-546-2416.

 


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  • Maureen Wilson
    published this page in Ward 1 Updates 2019-07-05 16:57:10 -0400