communication regarding public process, RSAC involvement and OPA 42 regarding skatepark selection

Staff memo.

CSS committee members requested additional information on the Silvercreek Skatepark Site Selection Process and role clarity regarding the River Systems Advisory Group at December 10th, 2013’s CSS Committee. Below is a summary of information that attempts to provide more process and role clarity for City Council.

Site Selection Process

Council Direction-October 19th 2009
• Staff be directed to proceed with a study on the relocation of the Deerpath Park Skateboard Area including a review of locations, site treatments, costs and timing;
• AND THAT Council approve the establishment of a working group of stakeholders and residents to assist staff with the Deerpath Park Skateboard Area relocation study.
Action
• Skatepark Relocation Working Group is established. Members include cross-section of community including; 2 youth, a retired police officer, a school teacher, 2 parents of young children, a community recreation worker, representative from a local business, a social worker, and a sitting City Councillor. The group was supported by a City of Guelph parks planner, youth services staff and the manager of GM of Parks and Recreation. This group met 7 times through 2010/11.
• The Working Group reviewed more than 80 sites throughout the City that were City owned/managed. Sites that were deemed inappropriate were eliminated and the list was pared down to 20 sites for further review. Each remaining site was tested against a criteria of best practices for skateboard park placement. This criteria included; city owned/controlled property, easy to patrol and excellent sightlines for patrolling, close to major transit routes, close to existing amenities such as washrooms, shelter, convenience stores, on or close to major thoroughfares, sufficient distance from nearby residence and proximity to existing parking. The list of 20 sites was narrowed down to 4 sites that scored very well. These sites were: Larry Pearson Park, Eastview Community Park, Centennial/College Heights greenspace and Silvercreek Park. Each of these sites were again rated and critiqued by the working group and further passed on to School Boards, Guelph Police Services, EMS, Parks Planning for review and comment. Through this process the Silvercreek Park site emerged as the preferred site (by a wide margin) and was the only site of the 4 that staff and working group felt was suitable for skatepark placement. The working group also recommended that the City of Guelph invest in a community wide facility respond to community need demonstrated at the Deerpath location (volume of riders surpassed facility size). The group’s recommendations were presented to Guelph City Council on September 13th, 2011.

Council Direction – September 13th, 2011
• Council endorse the recommendations of the Skatepark Advisory Group as to both the Silvercreek Park location and the design of a potential skateboard park as per the attached report;
• AND THAT staff be directed to report back to the Committee the results of consulting with the public, relevant agencies and the skateboarding community on the primary site and design features;
Action
• Responding to Council’s direction issued contract to van der Zalm and Associates for Site Evaluation and Conceptual Design work. Additionally, topographic study and geotechnical study were contracted to assess site suitability. Each of these studies further supported the Silvercreek site as a suitable location for a skatepark build.
• Further conversation and assessment were completed with the Grand River Conservation Authority, the City of Guelph’s Environmental Planners, PBEE Engineering team with specific attention paid to existing guiding documents (OPA 42) and planned projects (York Trunk Sewer/Paisley-Clythe Feedermain).
• CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) Study was completed by Guelph Police Services and the site continued to rate very well.
• CSS Community Engagement team supported the community consultation process and a Community Engagement plan was drafted/adhered to for this portion of the project.
• 3 Community Consultations were completed (2 with user groups and 1 community session on site). Feedback from each of these sessions was included in design work and community comment on site selection was included in site planning considerations.
• Grand River Conservation Authority continues to support City Staff and Consultant team in completing permit requirements for build at Silvercreek site.
• Staff have identified presentation of concept designs and completed EIS Study to the River Systems Advisory Committee for review and comment as a next step in the process.

RSAC Involvement and Information

Role/Purpose of RSAC

The purpose of the River Systems Advisory Committee (RSAC) is to provide advice and assistance to staff and Council on issues that impact on waterways and adjacent lands within the City of Guelph. RSAC is a citizen advisory group made up of nine members. They meet approximately 6 to 7 times a year. This Committee is lead by the Planning Services Section of Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment. The Development Section’s Environmental Planner is the lead staff contact with this Committee.
Primarily RSAC is circulated and involved on all new and existing subwatershed studies as well they would be circulated on selected public and municipal projects involving lands within the River System Management Plan corridor or lands abutting watercourses.

RSAC’s involvement with the Silvercreek Skateboard Park

• Development Planning-Planning Services cannot confirm RSAC’s involvement with this proposed skateboard facility prior to July 2012.
• Since then we can confirm that earlier this year the CSS Project Manager contacted our Environmental Planner and asked for direction on this particular site which we directed that a EIS would be required should the City proceed with this proposal and that the proposal would need to be circulated to the RSAC.
• The steps for an EIS would begin with the development a Terms of Reference for the EIS. Once completed the EIS would be circulated to RSAC for their review.
• The responsibility to bring the proposal forward to RSAC is that of the Project Manager on this phase of the file which is currently Adam Rutherford.
• Once this site selection process is complete then Rory Templeton will be taking carriage of this project as the Construction Manager for the remaining two phases of the file which are detailed design and construction.
• Staff have received the Terms of Reference earlier this week. We will be circulating this T of R to RSAC this week.
• The CSS Project Manager has provided comments regarding the policies related to OPA 42.
• However, Development Planning still has the current Official Plan policies that are actually in effect and these policies may not be as supportive of this type of proposal on these lands.
• However that being said, the zoning Floodplain (FL) permits the propose skateboard park use subject to the approval of GRCA. The current Official Plan (Section 6.9.4 and 6.7.2) due to proximity to fish habitat and significant environmental corridor requires an acceptable EIS for this type of proposal.
• Staff understands that RSAC is an advisory committee pertaining to Guelph’s river systems and look forward to the groups support as staff move forward on this project.

OPA 42
The proposed skatepark location is not;
• located in an area recommended for the City of Guelph’s Natural Heritage System,
• is not identified as a “significant natural”, “natural” or “area recommended for restoration” and
• is not identified as an area requiring “minimum watercourse buffers”
• the area proposed for skatepark development is not constrained by boundaries outlined in OPA 42

Staff are following OPA42 direction through the completion of EIS (Environmental Impact Study) as noted in OPA 42 6.1.4

OPA 42 6.1.4
Permitted development and site alteration within and adjacent to the Natural Heritage System (as outlined in Table 6.1) shall be required to demonstrate, through an EIS or EA to the satisfaction of the City, in consultation with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), the Province and federal government, as applicable, that there will be no negative impacts on the natural heritage features and areas or their ecological and hydrological functions.   Staff

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Filed under City Policy, Environment, Having fun, Youth

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