70 Waverley Drive Development and Windsor Park

A constituent offers suggestions to enhance the natural features of 70 Waverley drive.

I present some suggestions that I hope city staff will consider as site plans are prepared for the new lots at 70 Waverley Drive and the renewing of Windsor Park. As part of the approval given to this project by City Council on May 7 staff was directed to give special attention to the restoration and enhancement of natural-heritage features in the existing Windsor Park and on adjacent lands owned by the Guelph Country Club. The proposed restoration and enhancement activities will be reviewed by EAC.

The area to be examined includes, in addition to Windsor Park, Country Club lands to be incorporated in the building lots and adjacent land subject in any way to alteration due to the construction of stormwater facilities. As I mentioned in my remarks to City Council I am particularly concerned that attention be given to the large white pines and the large deciduous trees on the Guelph Country Club property in close proximity to the project area.

My suggestions relate to the scope of the restoration and enhancement opportunities to be examined and to specific alternatives that should be considered. The project involves creation of a naturalized channel segment for Stevenson Creek together with an on-line pond. Both of these will have forested riparian borders. The result is a forest block with a perennial stream that has terrestrial connection with a forested corridor extending west across much of the Guelph Country Club property.

To examine properly the full potential for natural-heritage enhancement within the area involved in the project it is important for the city to undertake promptly an abbreviated but comprehensive Master Plan examination of Windsor Park. In the discussion which follows I have designated the existing “natural” westerly portion of Windsor Park the “West Block” and the mowed, active-use portion of Windsor Park the “East Block”.

One of the alternatives that should be examined in the park Master Plan exercise is the division of the park into an active use area and a naturalized area with carefully controlled access. In this option the naturalized (forested) portion of Windsor Park would be an extension eastward of the forest block to be created around the stormwater system. The naturalized portion of park would include the remaining portion of the “West Block”, after removal of the land allocated to the building lots, and also include the westerly portion of the “East Block”. The active use portion of Windsor Park would be the easterly portion of the “East Block” with the playground equipment (now located in the west portion of the East Block) moved to a location near Waverley and at the eastern edge of the “East Block”.

By restricting the active-use area of the park to the easterly portion of the East Block all of the active use area would be fully visible from the existing entrance from Waverley and the need to use the remaining park portion of the West Block as a visibility corridor is removed, making this westerly portion available for naturalization with forest cover.

To enhance the active-use portion of Windsor Park at its easterly boundary the city should explore the purchase of all, or a portion of, the “orphaned” block of land immediately north of the east end of the park. This block is entirely surrounded by backyard fences of lots on Windsor, Kingsley Court and Brady Place. The most appropriate use of this land, especially the flat portion at the foot of the bounding slopes, would be as an addition to the adjacent portion of Windsor Park.

There should also be exploration of a fenced pathway entrance to Windsor Park from Windsor along the boundary of the two abutting apartment blocks. To establish this entrance would require acquisition by the city of two small triangles of land from the two apartment lots on Windsor, some rearrangement of the parking slots on one of the two apartment parking lots, and suitable fencing of the pathway corridor. Such a corridor would emphasize visibility and access from Windsor, adding to safety and benefiting park users coming to the park from Windsor.

I will be taking up with Rajan Philip my suggestions for stormwater-system improvements on and off site that should be triggered by this project. These stormwater-system aspects relate to the opportunities for enhanced natural heritage features. If the westerly portion of the East Block is naturalized it would be possible to daylight this portion of the existing buried-pipe conveyance thus extending the length of naturalized channel. It would also be logical to move the sediment basin that is part of the reconfigured channel system upstream. {The cost of the added channel length and of the sediment basin, if transferred to an upstream site, would be part of the city’s expense in park renovation}.

Part of my suggestion for stormwater enhancement to be undertaken by the city includes off-site activities to reduce stormwater volume, peak flowrate and pollutant transport. All of these activities would reduce the cost of relocation work to be undertaken by the project. In particular I think it would be possible to regulate the portion of flow passing through the naturalized channel, and to elevate the channel bottom above the elevation of the current constructed channel, by including some upstream buried storage and a bypass pipe parallel to the relocated channel to carry the high-flowrate portion of peak flow events. A higher bed elevation would result in a much more natural looking channel than exists with the current channel.

The buried storage of stormwater would provide an alternative source of irrigation water for the Guelph Country Club and thus would reduce their taking of water from the Speed River at Riverside Park.

I hope that staff will take these suggestions into account as preparations are made for site planning. I would be glad to clarify my ideas for Windsor Park with appropriate staff if this is helpful. As noted above I will be discussing stormwater aspects with Mr Philips and other staff.       HW