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New parks, pickleball courts, off-leash dog areas: Richmond Hill maps out the future of parks for next decade
June 29, 2022

The City of Richmond Hill is set to continue to grow and enhance its parks system for the next 10 years to accommodate the foreseeable population growth.

The city council has endorsed the newly-developed park plan which will guide the parkland needs, acquisition and improvement, as well as inform the planning for outdoor recreation facilities across Richmond Hill.

“Parks and open spaces are vital to our health and well-being,” Mayor David West said. “I am proud our Council has endorsed this 10-year plan to elevate Richmond Hill’s already incredible park system, strengthen our commitment to providing outdoor recreational opportunities for all, and meet the changing needs of our community.”

The 69-page document -- Parks Plan Better Choice for People at Play -- provides a framework to grow and enhance the city’s park system through 2031 to support an active, healthy and environmentally sustainable community.

While the city has a relatively even geographic distribution of parks, there are certain inequities in per capita parkland distribution, according to the plan.

As a result of planned intensification, a number of growth areas such as places near the Yonge Street corridor, and Leslie Street and Highway 7 are expected to experience a greater decline in the amount of parkland provided per person by 2031, according to the report.

The city plans to collect parkland at a rate that will minimize impacts to the city’s per capita parkland provision level which the city aims to maintain at 1.37 hectares per 1,000 people.

Over the next 10 years, the Richmond Hill community is expected to see new parks in new growth areas, new amenities such as pickleball courts, outdoor fitness equipment, and off-leash dog areas in response to community needs, according to the plan.

Meanwhile, the city aims to use parks to increase connectivity between neighbourhoods and apply a climate change lens to the development and redevelopment of parks, by planting more native species, enhancing tree canopies and establishing pollinator and rain gardens.

Statistics show that there are currently 167 parks, 162 km of trails and 689 hectares of natural areas in Richmond Hill.

In order to ensure all residents are able to enjoy the park system throughout the city for the next decade, the plan identifies a total of 53.56 hectares of new parkland in need, about half of which has been secured by Richmond Hill.

The largest need for new parkland comes from neighbourhood parks including local parks and parkettes in the North Leslie area and West Gormley area where a majority of needed parkland has been secured.

It also identifies the need for 2.4 hectares of urban squares and linear parks at controversial High Tech Transit-Oriented Community (TOC) area at Hwy. 7 and Yonge Street where massive developments have been proposed.

For more information and to view the Parks Plan, visit