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Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park plans moving forward

(Photo courtesy City of Oshawa)

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

Plans are moving forward for the Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park.

Oshawa City Council voted unanimously to move the project forward at its April 26 meeting.

Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson says the overall concept is an extremely important addition to the city’s waterfront.

“It gives an obvious tribute to Ed Broadbent and his contributions to our city,” he says, adding the sooner the project can be fully completed the better it’ll be for the entire community.

City Councillor John Gray says it’s important to have a park that’s different in that it’s a passive park and that all residents of every age should be able to enjoy the parks in the city.

“Obviously, recreation is something that has no age limits. We do recreation for the very young, through our teenage years, and then as active participants in the community, and then we become seniors,” he says, noting the city is doing a good job when it can cater to all age groups.

“We’ve done a great job in recreation in the past through sports programs, infrastructure that we have, but it’s also important now that we add that seniors’ element to it and see this park as being that one that will help us cater to all age groups,” he adds. “If we get our head wrapped around it properly, when it’s finished, it too will be able to have those elements that we need to make sure everybody has active recreation in Oshawa.

Staff attended the community services committee at its April 16 meeting where council directed staff to advance the basic parkland development of that park in January 2021.

There are two conceptual plans being considered, which considers key guiding information from the Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park Background Report in 2019.

According to the report, shoreline rehabilitation is required along the site for safe public access, and any improvement to the eastern side of the site is dependent on the implementation of shoreline work.

Shoreline rehabilitation requires a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA).

The first proposed concept, Concept A, explores potential active recreation programming, which complement the existing activities at Lakeview Park.

The east section would include formalizing the entry from Harbour Road with a dedicated parking lot, elevated boardwalks along the Harbour with integrated lookout platforms, shoreline protection, passive picnic nodes, two elevated wood decks, and beach volleyball courts.

The west section would include an international sized sports field with armourstone stadium seating, a skating rink and loop with an integrated park building and dedicated parking, realigning the waterfront trail to connect with the existing bridge over the Oshawa creek, an elevated boardwalk and viewing platform along the shoreline, boat launch, three tennis courts, two pickleball courts, a basketball court, and a large paved parking lot.

The second proposed concept, Concept B, explores potential passive recreation programming, providing an extension to the current opportunities at Lakeview Park.

The east section would include formalizing the entry from Harbour Road with a parking lot, an off-leash dog area, naturalized shoreline with marsh restoration, canoe launch and integrated lookout platform, pedestrian boardwalk through and along the Harbour, elevated sand beach, and restored mouth of the Oshawa Creek.

The west section would include an elevated lookout, bandstand with open field, restoration plantings, and realigned waterfront trail with adjacent naturalized open fields, connecting with the existing bridge over the Oshawa Creek.

It would also see a concrete plaza, park building and viewing area adjacent to the Harbour, and a large paved parking lot.

The park is planned to be completed in phases.

As part of the 2021 budget process, council approved to advance only the basic parkland development for the park at this time — at a cost of $2.5 million – with funding coming from both the Harbour Reserve and Development Charge funding.

According to the staff report, the proposed phasing strategy considers the design features which can be implemented for a 2022 construction start-up, and within the approved funding strategy.

The report states design features which require approval processes that are greater than one year in length are proposed for a future phase of implementation.

As the east section of the park as a whole requires an environmental assessment to proceed, it is proposed for a future phase. Potential options for the first phase would be located in the west section only.

Nicholson says he hopes the project can be expedited to move forward as quickly as possible.

“We all know the longer projects are delayed the most costly they become,” he says. “I’d much rather do all we can to expedite this project to make it available to citizens at the most cost effective price.”

Being a passive park, Nicholson says it’ll be a nice addition to the active parks, lakefront and to Lakeview Park.

“People are going to see this as an oasis of calm and relaxation, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” he says, noting this will be an opportunity for those who want a more passive approach to the waterfront to enjoy the green space at the lakefront.

“I see this as a win-win project.”

City Councillor Derek Giberson, vice-chair of the community services committee, says looking back at this term of council in the future, the pandemic will obviously be one of the largely remembered events, however looking past that, people in the community will be able to look at this accomplishment from this council in “advancing an even greater waterfront.”

“I think that’s something we will be able to take pride in,” he says, noting he’s looking forward to seeing the project move forward.

“Our waterfront is so important to the wellbeing of the entire city and I think we can be excited and proud to look forward to the advancement of this project.”