By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
City staff have not made any final decisions on plans for deLottinville Park, but continue reviewing options for the project that has divided a neighbourhood.
City of Hamilton landscape architectural services manager Steve Barnhardt stated in an email to the Dundas Star News this week that planning for deLottinville park has been challenging “due to topography and adjacent drainage area.”
“Staff are considering all options for the large program items shown to the public, including the exten(t) and location of the children’s play area, extent of accessible park pathways and potential for a multi-use court.”
Barnhardt stated staff are committed to holding a second public meeting in the New Year, potentially in late January or early February.
He stated the issue of whether or not to provide a multi-use court in deLottinville Park is tied to the site topography and it would require moving a significant amount of earth.
“The earthworks are currently under review and we do not anticipate resolving the preferred solution or solutions until the New Year, consequently we have yet to develop a preferred option,” Barnhardt stated.
He stated public input will have an impact on the ongoing review, but Barnhardt could not comment on whether there will be more than one possible option to show the public in the New Year.
“We do wish to advance this project through the 2013 capital budget process with the goal of tendering for construction in 2013. I am hoping we can reach a preferred solution with the residents but I do feel staff will need to spend additional effort explaining all the issues to clearly outline the constraints we are working with,” Barnhardt stated.
Some neighbours of the proposed park were upset to see options for the long-planned park all included a multipurpose court – outfitted for both basketball and street hockey. They organized and expressed their opposition to an active park with the court to Dundas city councillor Russ Powers.
City architectural services staff, who designed the original park concepts, began reworking options. That sparked a group of residents who support the multipurpose court being included in deLottinville Park to start a petition.
Supporters said they collected signatures from 350 adults and 140 youth who support the park. They met with Powers and gave him the petition.
Two opponents of the multipurpose court contacted the Dundas Star News and suggested the newspaper’s coverage was biased in favour of supporters of the court in deLottinville Park. They questioned the petition supporting the court, claiming some neighbours may have felt pressured into signing it.
Charlie Denomey, who helped spearhead the petition said he and other neighbours who gathered the names were upset they had no opportunity to respond to the claims. He said no one was pressured into signing the petition.
“The statements have not been substantiated and we had no opportunity to respond,” Denomey said.
He said he could get more than 400 letters from people in the neighbourhood confirming they had not been pressured into signing the petition.
Denomey contacted Barnhardt to clarify the status of plans for deLottinville Park. He also requested an opportunity to meet with landscape architectural services staff.
“For the record, people were shown pictures of your presentation and a very clearly worded petition and were never forced to sign the petition,” Denomey stated in an email to Barnhardt. “If I had the time, I would welcome each and every person that signed the petition to voice their concern and opinions to the appropriate people.”