Norwich Township creates parks master plan to help with planning and budgeting

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

The Township of Norwich has a clear focus for its future recreation needs with the development of a Parks Master Plan.

The proposed plan was brought to council in mid-November and includes a detailed look at the township’s existing amenities with future considerations and goals for each of the parks in each of the township’s communities. The plan looks as far out as to the mid-2030s.

In his report to council, community services director Patrick Hovorka stated the township never had a master plan for its parks. This plan is intended to provide a comprehensive guide and strategy for parks and related amenities that meets community needs as far as projected demographics.

“The master plan as proposed is fairly comprehensive in nature, and is intended to provide an overall vision and realistic goals for the township’s parks and various green spaces - both active and passive,” Hovorka said in his report. “The plan is also intended to assist in prioritizing both short and long term needs for the parks system, help facilitate budget preparation and park improvements planning, and provide guidance when reviewing/approving future residential development and related policies.”

There is no immediate impact on the township’s budget, but the plan will be worked into the parks capital forecast and be included in capital budgets for 2019.

The detailed plan includes information and guidelines that will help staff to properly plan for future spending in parks and recreation. It outlines the changing demographics of the municipality, lists the existing amenities being provided along with an indication of what may be missing, and then provides details about each of the built-up communities in the township along with a vision for the future for each area.

Some of the highlights of future considerations and goals for the various community facilities includes such things as replacing ball diamond fencing at various locations, replacing signage, replacing ball diamond lighting, replacing picnic shelters, replacing the pool house at Otterville, refurbishing bleachers, and paving pathways to increase accessibility.