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New park development

Park classification

The City of Ottawa has created a classification system to define park typologies designed to meet the social, recreational and environmental needs of its residents. The Park Classification described bellow is intended to serve as a reference tool to guide the City of Ottawa in the development of new parks. Implementation of the Park Classification allows those responsible for parkland selection, design, construction, and maintenance of parks to best meet the needs of communities.

The location and programming of parks is determined by the City according to population and recreational service level requirements. Parks are distributed throughout a community, and across the City, to enable residents to have easily accessible parkland that satisfies a wide range of municipal recreational needs, while enhancing the public realm. All park and pathway locations shall take into consideration specific Community Design Plans (CDPs), Secondary Plans, Village Plans and site specific policies in the Official Plan for the area. Communities may benefit when parks are varied in their typologies and are distinctive in their design.

The Park Classification establishes park typologies and outlines standards related to parkland size, location, service area radius, configuration, and amenities in order to inform the selection and subsequent design of park blocks. Parklands should be of a shape and size that provide appropriate access and visibility, and offer park planners flexibility in the design of sports fields and other recreational amenities.

Four (4) park typologies are described, reflecting the City’s parkland structure: District Parks, Community Parks, Neighbourhood Parks, and Parkettes. Park descriptions begin on the following page.

Note: The following Park Classification applies only to new residential development / growth areas. It does not apply to existing / established communities where the delivery of parks was based on previous planning standards.

District Park

District Parks are destination parks that service groups of communities, specific districts, and can be used for City wide functions. They are designed as major destinations for residents and visitors, and may have a tourism focus. The size and location of each park may vary, as determined by the park’s particular focus and facilities. District Parks may have a competitive recreational focus, and similar facilities may be combined for tournament capabilities.

Design Criteria

Service Area Radius: City and district wide
Uses: Multi-use, passive and active recreation, major sports facilities and / or tournament level fields
Size: 10ha minimum
Location: Located to serve multiple communities and, where possible, situated along an arterial street with a major transit route. Should be linked to the greenspace network and may be located in association with other open space areas.
Amenities: Variety of active and passive recreation opportunities which may include a community centre, pool / arena complex, indoor / outdoor rinks, active sports fields, tennis courts, multi-purpose courts, skateboard parks, splash pads, children’s play areas, pedestrian walkways, seating areas, and shelters, as determined by the City.
Implementation: City built (Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department)
Frontage: Preferred minimum 75% continuous frontage on abutting streets
Parking: Parking shall be accommodated on site
Lighting: Walkway, parking lot, sports field and security lighting requirements shall be determined by the City.
Vegetation Criteria: Planting (trees, shrubs, grasses) shall comprise diverse species tolerant of urban conditions,
with an emphasis on native species. Buffer and naturalization planting areas shall be provided where necessary.
Canopy Target: 30%
Naturalization Target: 20%

Community Park

Community Parks service a specific community or group of neighbourhoods, providing a range of recreational opportunities, and should be well connected to the larger community. They may range in size and types of facilities offered, and serve as a focal point within the community. Active and passive recreational opportunities shall be provided.

Design Criteria

Service Area Radius: Community-wide (as determined by planning area)
Uses: Range of passive and active recreational uses, which may include a community building or a field house
Size: 3.2ha minimum to 10ha maximum
Location: Located along collector roads, generally at major intersections. Community Parks shall be accessible by transit and located in proximity to a transit stop. Should be linked to the greenspace network and may be located adjacent to other open space lands, such as conservation lands, valleys and stormwater management facilities, to
the satisfaction of the City.
Amenities: Variety of active and passive recreation opportunities which may include sports fields, tennis courts, multi-purpose courts, ice rinks, skateboard parks, splash pads, children’s play areas, open play spaces, pedestrian walkways, seating areas, and shelters, as determined by the City.
Implementation: City built (Planning and Growth Management Department)
Frontage: Preferred minimum 50% continuous frontage on abutting streets
Parking: Parking shall be accommodated on site as determined by the City.
Lighting: Walkway, parking lot, sports field and security lighting shall be provided as appropriate.
Vegetation Criteria: Planting (trees, shrubs, grasses) shall comprise diverse species tolerant of urban conditions, with an emphasis on native species. Buffer and naturalization planting areas shall be provided where necessary.
Canopy Target: 30%
Naturalization Target: 20%

Neighbourhood Park

Neighbourhood Parks serve as the focal point of a neighbourhood, provide active and passive recreation opportunities, and offer a local gathering space within walking distance of local residents.

Design Criteria

Service Area Radius: Approximately 10-minute (or 800m) walking distance
Uses: Range of passive and active recreational uses (defined in glossary)
Size: 1.2ha minimum to 3.2ha maximum
Location: Generally located along local roads (or collector roads in rural or village areas). Should be linked to the greenspace network and may be located adjacent to other open space lands, such as conservation lands, valleys and stormwater management facilities.
Amenities: Range of active and passive recreation opportunities which may include shade structures, seating, play equipment, a multi-purpose court, a splash pad, an outdoor rink, mini sports fields, or other facilities as determined by the City.
Implementation: City built (Planning and Growth Management Department) or developer front-ended
Frontage: Preferred minimum of 50% frontage on abutting streets
Parking: On street parking preferred, as these parks are intended as walk-to destinations.
Lighting: Sports fields are not typically lit. Walkway and security lighting shall be provided as appropriate.
Vegetation Criteria: Planting (trees, shrubs, grasses) shall comprise of diverse species tolerant of urban conditions, with an emphasis on native species.
Canopy Target: 30%
Naturalization Target: Site specific

Parkette

Parkettes are small parks that are located within walking distance of residents. They provide central green space and social gathering places within neighbourhoods, and offer predominantly passive recreation and minor active recreation opportunities within a local residential or mixed-use neighbourhood. Parkettes can improve connectivity within neighbourhoods, provide interesting focal points, enhance built form and contribute to community character, providing a place for residents to interact, children to play and social events to occur.

Note: Parkettes shall supplement a neighbourhood’s park network; they will not be considered as the sole classification of parkland in a community.

Design Criteria

Service Area Radius: Approximately 2 to 5-minute (or 200 to 450m) walking distance
Uses: Active and passive recreational uses
Size: 0.4ha minimum to 1.2ha maximum
Location: Located along local roads and linked to the greenspace network
Amenities: Range of active and passive recreation opportunities may include: shade structures, seating, play equipment, and an unstructured play area, as determined by the City.
Implementation: City-built (Planning and Growth Management Department) or developer front-ended
Frontage: Preferred minimum of 50% frontage on abutting streets
Parking: No parking required
Lighting: Walkway and security lighting shall be provided as appropriate.
Vegetation Criteria: Planting (trees, shrubs, grasses) shall comprise diverse species tolerant of urban conditions, with an emphasis on native species.
Canopy Target: 30%
Naturalization Target: Site specific

Planning process for new parks

Parks and pathways play a key role in enhancing Ottawa residents’ quality of life. They contribute to residents’ physical and psychological health, enhance civic pride and strengthen local identity. Parks and pathways also support the greenspace network, enhance the City’s natural beauty and promote active transportation. In order to achieve customer service excellence, the City of Ottawa strives to provide new and growing communities with excellent parks and pathways that meet the active and passive recreational needs of residents.

The success of parks and pathways begins in the early stages of planning, during the pre-application consultation stage and again at the subdivision review stage, when park blocks and pathways are selected and acquired. The size and shape of a park block helps define which facilities can be accommodated while the location of pathway locks helps provide an interconnected greenspace network. The City’s annual park budgeting exercise, as well as park design and construction process, are key factors that influence the delivery of new parks.

Park and Pathway Development Manual [ PDF 3.986 MB ]

For information about existing parks and their amenities, please use eMap.
 

Park and Pathway Development

Executive Summary

An initiative of the Planning and Growth Management Department (PGM), the Park and Pathway Development Manual [ PDF 3.89 MB ] was developed primarily to define, standardize and improve the park and pathway development process for both City-built and Developer-front-ended projects in the City of Ottawa.

The manual was developed with input from other City of Ottawa departments, including Infrastructure Services, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, and Public Works. A Stakeholder's Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, Landscape Architecture Ottawa, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the South Nation Conservation Authority, and Mississippi Valley Conservation also provided valuable input.

The Park and Pathway Development Manual is intended to serve as a reference tool to guide City staff, external stakeholders, the development community, and their consultants in the development of parks and pathways in the City of Ottawa. More specifically, it is designed to assist park planners and other City staff in guiding applicants through the review and approvals process for park development.

Objectives include the following:

  • To ensure the timely delivery of parks and pathways in the City of Ottawa.
  • To clearly define the process for park design, construction and acceptance, for both City-built and Developer front-ended park assets.
  • To ensure that the size, layout, location and characteristics of dedicated parkland adequately support the active and passive recreation needs of City of Ottawa residents.
  • To establish guidelines for the selection and acquisition of park and pathway blocks, and to summarize Developer responsibilities with respect to the preparation of park blocks.
  • To define the City's Park and Pathway Classifications, which are to be used as a reference tool to guide City of Ottawa staff and Developers in the development of new parks and pathways.
  • To establish drawing standards and submission requirements to streamline the park design and construction processes and to facilitate communication.

The Park and Pathway Development Manual defines two scenarios for the design and development of parks in the City of Ottawa.

The first scenario relates to the process for development of City-built parks, whereby a Developer conveys parkland to the City as part of a subdivision agreement, and completes requirements related to park blocks. The Developer is responsible for compliance with all of the subdivision approval conditions. Once the Developer has satisfied all requirements, the subdivision is registered, and the park and pathway blocks are conveyed to the City. It becomes the City's responsibility to undertake the design and construction of the park asset. Roles and responsibilities are outlined for each step of the process related to the development of City-built parks.

The second scenario provides the development community with the opportunity to build park assets as part of the subdivision development process. The park types that are eligible for front-ending are: Neighbourhood Parks and Parkettes. Front-ending is optional, and is subject to Council approval and the City and Developer executing a front-ending agreement. As part of the front-ending process, the Developer is still required to complete the requirements in association with park / pathway block conveyance. Roles and responsibilities are outlined for each step of the process related to Developer front-ended parks.

Parks and Pathways Inclusive Design Checklist [ PDF 155.82 KB ]

The front-ending of park development is subject to the terms and conditions of the City of Ottawa Park and Trail Front-Ending Policy (2011) and requires the approval of Council. Advantages of front-ending include more timely delivery of parks in new and growing communities, and potential development cost savings when parks are built as part of the subdivision construction process.

The Park and Pathway Development Manual also defines the City's Park and Pathway Classification System. The City of Ottawa has created a classification system to define park typologies designed to meet the social, recreational and environmental needs of its residents. The Park Classification establishes park typologies and outlines standards related to parkland size, location, service area radius, configuration, and amenities in order to inform the selection and subsequent design of park blocks. Parks should be of a shape and size that provide appropriate access and visibility, and offer park planners flexibility in the design of sports fields and other recreational amenities. Implementation of the Park Classification allows those responsible for design, development, construction and maintenance of parks to best meet the needs of communities. Four (4) park typologies are described, reflecting the City's parkland structure: District Parks, Community Parks, Neighbourhood Parks, and Parkettes.

City of Ottawa pathways are intended to provide for the recreational and transportation needs of residents. They provide pedestrian linkages that facilitate movement within City and community-wide networks, enhance the continuity of the open space system and provide access to recreational opportunities within each neighbourhood. With respect to pathways, the classification establishes parameters for use and location, as well as context, and path and corridor width. Pathway standards vary according to location, use and anticipated volume of usage. The Pathway Classification describes three (3) pathway typologies: Multi-Use Paths, Recreational Paths, and Nature Trails.

The Park and Pathway Development Manual also outlines the City's drawing standards and submission requirements, provides information regarding the circulation of drawings to City staff and other agencies, and presents park and pathway construction details and specifications. These standards are intended to facilitate communication and streamline the development of parks and associated pathways.

Finally, the Park and Pathway Development Manual is envisioned as a living document which shall be updated by the City when necessary, as park and pathway development evolves and new, more efficient processes and standards are developed and implemented.