If work on the splash pad area of Hollinger park is finished in time, that section of the park will be open during Stars and Thunder.
Council received an update with the estimated timeframe for the remediation work planned for the popular park at its March 27 meeting.
The report from Manager of Environment Services Scott Tam says the plan is to start the work to improve the playground and splash pad areas in May and be finished by the start of the music festival June 24. If the work is done, he confirmed that it would be able to be opened up.
Work at the site and fencing it off for the first half of the summer has been a contentious topic.
In February, resident Leena MacDonald spoke to council about the decision, saying that the work is wanted by the community. By fencing the park off during the festival, however, she said was seen as a “tactic to punish the community for not buying tickets.”
Last week, some members questioned the timing of the work.
Coun. Rick Dubeau noted that schools take trips to the park at the end of the year and questioned why it can’t be done later in the year.
“There’s been a lot of healthy discussion on when to do it. We were hoping to get it completed so everyone can enjoy it for the rest of the summer instead of waiting until August when some hot days are still there,” explained Tam.
For the fall, Tam said they don’t know when the weather will start to change.
The remediation work includes improving the surfaces of the playground and splash pad, removing sand and brick to be compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and importing some fill to help with drainage in low-lying areas.
Bringing in 12,000 cubic metres of fill for the north side of the park is expected to begin after the festival. The city will need to hire a contractor to haul and place the material, with the project expected to happen in July and August.
After the snow melts, an arborist would also be brought in to assess the trees in the north area of the park.
At the meeting, Coun. Pat Bamford said the park needs a summer to recuperate after this summer.
“In other words, not have the music festival there in 2019,” he said, going on to say there could be value in having something every other year.
A decision on any future events will be up to a future council to make, according to Mayor Steve Black.
“We’re probably about 10,000 tickets away from even contemplating discussing a 2019 event and that there’s a municipal election in between now and then that will likely have lots of discussion around any future event,” he said.