Walking and bike trails priority in proposed rec master plan

Montieth and Brown’s concept of a trail system for Petrolia. It’s found in the draft parks and recreation master plan which is online at the town’s website for public comment.

Heather Wright/The Independent

A new report says Petrolia should develop more walking and cycling trails in the community.
The recommendation is part of the proposed Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The 59-page report prepared by Monteith and Brown takes a look at what recreational activities residents what and what amenities are needed.
The consultants talked to staff, user groups, and the public and did a public survey on what people in the community believe is important for the next 20 years.
The report says 449 people took the online survey – most were young families who had lived in town most of their lives.
It lists the top activities in town as walking and hiking, going to special events, enjoying parks, going to theatre and using playgrounds.
Other highlights from the survey included;
• 83 per cent of people think recreational trails and pathways are important but only 37 per cent are satisfied with the trails available.
• 52 per cent say the amount of recreation trails in the neighbourhood was below expectations.
• the top priority for spending was playgrounds 81 per cent, splash pads 74 per cent, arenas, 71 per cent, buying park space, 69 per cent and outdoor ice rinks 69 per cent
• 70 to 85 per cent of people agreed with investing in sidewalks, seating along walkways, multi-use trails, unpaved nature trails and connections to schools parks and other residential areas.
• Community groups said there was a gap in parks in new residential neighbourhoods and wanted consideration for age-friendly components like shade, washrooms, trails, pickleball courts
• 42 per cent of people don’t think they’re getting value for the tax dollar on recreation and parks and
• The highest opposition to spending was for a performing arts theatre at 25 per cent with 49 per cent in favour.
The authors of the report made 46 recommendations to council.
They suggested the town should actively develop a trail system in Petrolia, possibly linking to other community trails in the area. (see photo).
The authors said the town needs to acquire more parkland as the town grows simply to maintain the 4 hectares of parkland per 1,000 residents. The author suggests priority be given to areas where there is new housing and that parks and recreation staff have input into subdivision plans to make sure there is new parkland.
The authors said the town should continue to support the development of a park at the Greenwood Recreation Centre, spearheaded by the Parents for Parks group. It also says it should build a splash pad, likely at Kerr Park.
A skateboard park and basketball court was also on the needs list. And the study suggests developing some of the amenities at the Oil Heritage District Community Centre Property.
But calls for a second ice pad in the community were rejected. The report says Greenwood arena is well used and ice rentals are likely to decrease since the population is aging. It suggests saving to replace the arena in the future instead.
The authors added the town has to start looking for land for three full-sized soccer fields since the current fields are owned by a local developer.
There was also recommendations for studying parks in the downtown area and the use of Victoria Hall.
The authors estimated the cost of the items to over a million dollars but said council should set out short, medium and long term priorities for investment.
The master plan can be found on Petrolia’s website. Town officials would like residents to read it and complete a survey so a final report can be prepared for council.
in the next few months.