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Hidden Valley and the Park Master Plan

In September, 2010 the previous council of the City of Kitchener approved a 10 year Park Master Plan. The plan proposed that park creation and administration be sub-divided into the following five categories:
 
                                                                                 1. Active sports parks
                                                                                 2. Grand River Corridor park
                                                                                 3. Natural area parks
                                                                                 4. Neighbourhood parks
                                                                                 5. Trails
 
The executive made two submissions to the city about the Park Master Plan. More detail about these presentations is available at the News for 2010 page . To connect click here: News about Hidden Valley for 2010 
 
The growing population and park space
  •  the Places to Grow policy of the Provincial government stipulates that Kitchener should grow by about 100,000 residents by 2031.
  •  About 40,000 of these new residents will live in the central corridor from Fairway Road to Union Street.
  •  The current park system of 1519 hectares (or 3751 acres) provides a  quality of living ratio of 0.665 hectares (or 1.64 acres) per 100 residents.
  • To preserve this quality of living ratio as 100,000 people are added to the city population would require that the park system be expanded by 552 hectares (or 1363 acres) over the next 20 years.
 
How does Hidden Valley fit into this growth model?
 
  1. The Hidden Valley property would provide a 200 acre park close to the increased population in the centre core of the city.
  2. If the entire 200 acres were secured, then the new park would provide about 15% of the  1363 acres required to maintain park space at the current per capita level.
  3. The Hidden Valley property contains a combination of ESPA forested area, Provincially Significant Wetlands and open space that could potentially be reforested or used in part for playing fields, community gardens etc.
  4. It is proposed three areas in the PMP Grand River Corridor proposal (See the map below) designated as the Freeport  floodplain (#5), the Hidden Valley ESPA and floodplain (#6) and the Pioneer Tower floodplain (#7)  along with the Homer Watson park could be connected together as a combined trail and natural area park to create a Grand River Heritage park to celebrate the centennial of Berlin/Kitchener.
  5.  In order to get started before 2012 action should have begun last year. Unfortunately the previous council, with the exception of Councillor Gazzola, felt it was too late in their mandate to support this idea.
  6. At this point the new Kitchener Park Master Plan  places a heavy emphasis and most of the recommended budget towards more planning for both the Grand River Park and  the Natural area parks. There was very little money suggested for park development.
 
The main purpose of the old council, as reported in the Record last July,   seemed to be "Approve the new plan in principle but leave specific  actions to the new council".
 
What will be the significant features in a combined Heritage Trail and Signature Park?
 
Allow yourself to envision a 14 km heritage trail that would connect together major natural area park spaces  such as Hidden Valley, Homer Watson park, the Pioneer Tower Flood Plain and the Freeport Flood Plain as well as the following significant places in the early history of Waterloo Region:
 
  • The eskers and glacial remains in Hidden Valley
  • The riverside cliffs and old forest in  Homer  Watson park
  • The Waterloo Region museum
  • Old Doon
  • Pioneer Tower and cemetery
  • The Schoerg house
  • The Betzner house
  • The Freeport Sanitarium, now a modern hospital
  • Homer Watson House and Gallery
We need your help on this issue. It is time to let the new council know that this is a priority area that requires a significant budget and action this year if they hope to get this project started by the centennial year. Please write Mayor Zehr and your councillor to express your opinion about this concept. Contact e-mail addresses are available at:
 
                                                       Contact your Kitchener councillor
 
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          Reprint of page 43 in the Kitchener Park Master Plan
 
 
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