Parks in Markham
As our communities become denser, homes have smaller or no yards, and as more people live in apartments, parks are more important than ever. However, to date the city has developed a significant backlog of park development, due in part to a shortage of qualified parks designers.
In 2020 we will start to make some progress in Markham Centre. The city’s park design staff will be reaching out to the community to generate ideas for the patch along the south side of Highway 7 west of Birchmount Road. We will also begin design work for the parks along the north side of the Rouge River east and west of Birchmount Road. The park north of the York condo at Enterprise Blvd and Warden Ave is slated for development when construction of the condo building is complete. Much of the future park is being used as a staging area for the construction.
In 2019 five park playgrounds in Ward 3 reached the end of their lifecycles and were replaced. One completely new playground was installed in Crosby Park and is enjoyed by students from Parkview Public School. The school council at Parkview made a significant financial contribution to this much-needed public attraction. The Monarch Park playground is slated for replacement in 2020.
A huge hole in our parks facilities is off-leash dog parks. Our dog population seems to be growing exponentially. In my ideal world there would be an off-leash park within a 15-minute walk of most residents. Unfortunately, given the lack of such parks now, those that we do have require significant parking facilities. I’m sure we can find locations in the river valleys and in one or two larger parks, well away from homes (though dogs at play are usually quite quiet.) These parks are simple and cheap to install – an agricultural fence, a bin for dog poop, maybe a bench and lots of wood chips.
Bill 108 and Parks for New Communities
July 8, 2020: I am pleased to announce that as of today the province has backed down from its proposed changes to parkland dedication related to new high-density neighbourhoods. Of course, the devil is in the details, but going forward it seems that we will be able to ensure that Markham Centre has sufficient parkland and that pressure on parks in mature neighbourhoods can be mitigated.
Thank you to the Unionville Residents Association and the South Unionville Residents Forum for their support in the fight against the highly restrictive regulations that the province had proposed.
Rouge National Urban Park
We are extraordinarily lucky to have this unique new park on our doorstep. Eventually we will be able to cycle or walk on trails all the way from north of Unionville to Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Rouge River. New trails are already under construction in the park and there are plans for other facilities and services to promote an appreciation of nature. Markham and Parks Canada are working together to create a gateway area along Highway 7 near 9th Line.