Orangeville’s ‘forgotten corner’ gets council attention on new playground

July 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Users of a playground tucked away in Orangeville’s Rolling Hills area could see some changes to the facility possibly next year.

But if it was solely up to Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor, that “forgotten corner” of town would get new play structures and a mini splash pad sooner rather than later.

The initial capital budget for the Rebecca Hills Park project was $350,000. The lowest price to get the work done came in at $334,637.76. Design fees are $32,949.40 for a total project cost of $367,587.16, leaving the project underfunded by $17,587.16. 

Rebecca Hills Park is located on the east side in an area separated from the rest of town by both Highway 10 and Highway 9. It’s a neighbourhood park that serves about 700 residents of the Rolling Hills Drive area.

The municipal Recreation and Parks Master Plan in 2020 recommended the park be redesigned and upgraded. Residents consulted requested additional play structures and a mini splash pad.

Those amenities were added to the scope, and the project was tendered in May. Seven bids were received, and the lowest bidder’s references were checked on June 28. Work on the playground is expected to begin this fall after the school year starts.

Municipal staff asked for $30,000 to fund the remainder of the project. That amount factors in contingency funding.

The additional $30,000 will be funded from the general capital reserves.

Councillor Debbie Sherwood asked if the money could be taken from a parks reserve fund rather than general capital reserves.

“I know whether it comes out of one pot or another doesn’t make much of a difference,” Sherwood said.

The parks and recreation reserve is used for playground structures. But the money to come from the general capital reserve purse is for the design aspects of the work.

The work on the playground was supposed to begin in August but has been pushed back to after the school year’s start. And Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said delaying the project sends the wrong message to neighbourhood residents.

“The forgotten corner, that’s what they’re called,” Taylor said of the Rolling Hills neighbourhood. “And, in fairness to them, they’re doing a great job advocating, and they’re all over us. And we deserve to be all over.

“They really want this park finished and they just want to feel good that it’s going to be done.”

Heather Savage, the town’s general manager of community services, agreed that it’s been too long.

“From what I gather, the design phase for this park, the consultation, it has taken longer than expected,” she said.

There have been some hiccups in the tendering process for the work. If funding is approved, work could begin in August.

“But it doesn’t make sense to close the only park that the Forgotten Community has,” Savage said. “Wait until school’s in and then start construction. Either way, it will not be completed this year.”

Taylor asked if it could be done by May or June.

“As soon as possible so that they’re using it next summer,” Savage said. “But I can’t commit to a timeline because I’ve done that before and it didn’t work.”

Taylor said it would be great to communicate some kind of a timeline to the Rolling Hills area residents.

“It’d just be great to over-communicate on this, if we could, with the residents that are up there,” he said.

Savage said her department is waiting to hire the contractor and to have the playground equipment in the offing for work to begin.

“It’s all about how long will it take that playground structure, that splash pad, that equipment to arrive at our doorstep,” she said.

Mayor Lisa Post said at that point, a timeline will be provided to staff.

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