Toronto endorses ambitious parks and rec facility development
Last week, Toronto’s council endorsed what it calls the most ambitious plan for developing parks and recreation facilities in the city’s history. The implementation of the new program will see $2.2 billion invested across Toronto over the next 20 years.
Based on growing and changing population demand, the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan 2019-2038 (FMP) was approved by city council in 2017. At the time, staff was directed to report back with a more detailed implementation strategy, using an evidence-based approach to determine when, how and where to revitalize existing assets and to build new and improved facilities, while also remaining open to unanticipated opportunities, such as land becoming available.
If current funding levels are maintained, based on a 2019-2028 capital budget and plan, the city estimates they will be sufficient to support the new and enhanced facilities. Among the recommendations are:
- 45 soccer/multi-use fields.
- 30 basketball courts.
- Five cricket pitches.
- Multi-ice-pad arenas to replace older, single-pad facilities.
- Revitalized community recreation centres
- Upgraded sport fields, rinks, pools and courts.
The strategy also aims to improve equity in services in underserved communities. Nearly 90% of the recommended revitalizations and 75% of the new centres are earmarked for Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs).
”We’re taking action to ensure Toronto’s current and future residents have access to services they need and want,” says the city’s mayor, John Tory.
Staff will report back to city council on the program’s progress every five years.