A city panel says they're making good progress toward their goal of ensuring everyone in the city lives within a 10-minute walk of a green space.
Franco Mariotti and Naomi Grant, members of the green space advisory panel, told city councillors this week that a survey conducted this spring found residents place a high value on having access to natural areas. Ninety per cent said they walk or hike, and 86 per cent supported spending more money improving natural trails.
“There is tremendous support among Sudbury for more green spaces and trails,” Mariotti said.
The panel created a map listing existing green spaces in the city, and a wish list of future areas it hopes the city will develop.
Grant said the panel has identified parts of the city where there are still gaps — areas where residents don't have access to nature trails and parks within 10 minutes.
Chelmsford, downtown Sudbury and Wahnapitae are three underserviced areas, while there are still several gaps where natural trails don't connect. The panel prioritized the list, as well as approaches and strategies for filling those gaps.
“Now council can act and use that information as a tool to fill those gaps,” Grant said.
Mariotti said one priority is expanding and connecting trails along Junction Creek, which winds its way through much of the city.
“Fifty thousand people live within walking distance of Junction Creek,” he said. “If we could finish those trails — talk about connectivity.”
He urged councillors to act on the information, and not to allow their reports to sit on a shelf.
“This is an extremely valuable tool,” he said. “This can be your Bible, in a sense ... We can create the environment that will lead to healthy lifestyles.”
The information they have gathered can be a valuable tool for developers building a subdivision, he said. They previously had no central document to let them know where the green spaces are in a neighborhood, so they could be sensitive to them when planning how they will build.
The green space advisory panel consists of representatives from most wards in addition to local experts on the environment, park development and preservation.
Its primary objectives include identification of gaps in green space assets, connectivity of green space assets and contributing input to the Official Plan review.
The full report can be viewed here: agendasonline.greatersudbury.ca/index.cfm?pg=feed&action=file&attachment=12074.pdf.