About 3 weeks ago, on behalf of the local kiting and windsurfing community our representative attended a meeting of the community working group for the redevelopment planning of the Ron Kolbus Centre and Britannia Park. The following is a brief summary of the discussion and key take-aways from the meeting.
The group is led by the local Councilor - Mark Taylor. Over the past 18 months there have been preliminary plans generated and discussed with the various user groups of the park - including local neighborhood groups and associations, recreational users, etc. The guiding principles for the redevelopment have been to address the current needs of the community for meeting, events and multi-use recreational space. In general, the initial plans have focused on the recreation centre itself and parking.
For our group the primary concerns is access to the water / ice from a nearby parking area, and maintaining the ample space to set up and launch at the end of the pier. Other considerations such as washroom / change facilities and access to the pier for EMS and rescue vehicles are also important. Preliminary plans called for large changes to the parking area, these plans are being revisited however there is a good possibility that in the future you may have to walk a little further to access the water, but with the inclusion of an area to drop off gear and changing stations near the pier. This is still in planning and yet to be finalized.
A larger concern for our group is the contract between the City and a local tour company to operate from the end of the pier. Last year you may have noticed rafts departing from the end of the pier. They already have approval to build a dock at the end of the pier and there is the concern that a permanent structure may be placed at the end of the pier, or equipment trailers and rafts may crowd the current space being used for launching and landing as well as the water access.
At this time the redevelopment of the Ron Kolbus centre and Britannia Park is still in the planning stages. Input from all user groups is under consideration and the City's Park planning department is developing further concepts. The working group will then have an opportunity to make final inputs before final plans are announced.
* How can you get involved to support continued access to our kiting and windsurfing launch at Brit?
- We're asking for volunteers to join a sub-committee from both kiting and windsurfing groups. A group to brainstorm and simply assist drafting any responses to the next round of planning - and help demonstrate the size and organization of our group of users who access the park all year long.
- Please refrain from changing in/out of wetsuits in the parking areas. Though it may seem routine to us, its considered inappropriate by other users in the park and brought to the management's attention. There are available washrooms in the Ron Kolbus centre.
- Appreciate the unique access we have and being able to kite from a park located within the heart of the city. In many other cities this is no longer possible. Be respectful to staff, other park users, and the environment.
Please contact Adrian Splinter or Steve Slaby directly (or through our contact form) to get involved in our sub-committee - we appreciate your involvement.
Here's some additional information on the project along with some initial design diagrams: Initial concepts of Ron Kolbus centre and parking areas