Toronto moves forward with $2 billion 20-year Parks and Rec plan

Nov 10 2017, 11:07 pm

The City of Toronto is reinforcing its commitment to providing the best parks and recreation facilities to its residents.

At this week’s council meeting, the City has decided to move forward with the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan, which covers 2019 through to 2038. The plan reflects the city’s growing and changing population, and its ongoing demand for programs and services.

According to a City report, it is expected that over the next 20 years, the City’s population will grow by 450,000 people, and demand for Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s (PFR) programs and facilities remains high.

Current waitlists have grown from 90,528 in 2007 to 198,228 in 2016 even with new community recreation centres opening every few years, and at this rate, waitlists could double to 400,000 by 2025, states the report.

The new Plan commits to building new facilities and renewing the current assets to meet demand, and making the most of the current facilities, but it comes at a big cost. The Facilities Master Plan recommends a total investment of $2.1 billion over the next 20 years.

“Analysis has confirmed what is well known, our parks and recreation infrastructure is at risk of failing and we need to invest in new and better ways to protect our public assets,” reads the report. “New and enhanced facilities are also needed to address existing gaps and respond to growth.”

Among the plan’s recommendations are three new community recreation centres to fill gaps and respond to growth, and enhancing and replacing 11 existing community recreation centres.

A detailed implementation strategy will be presented to Council for approval in 2018.

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