What is a Recreation Master Plan?

    The Recreation Master Plan is a tool that will guide decision-makers, stakeholders and the general public in understanding the recreational needs and priorities of Hamiltonians. This includes outdoor recreation amenities, indoor recreation facilities, and recreation programs and services.

    Through research and public input, the Master Plan will examine service levels in all communities across the city and establish priorities for the next ten years. Recommendations will be developed to respond to community needs, population changes, participation trends, gaps in service and operational requirements. A variety of approaches will be required to ensure that the right facilities are provided at the right time in the right places.

    The City of Hamilton is committed to ensuring that residents of all ages and abilities have access to community amenities and activities that are accessible and support active lifestyles and well-being. The Master Plan will assist the City and stakeholders in making strategic decisions to ensure a healthy community, improve quality of life, and encourage a strong economy and sustainable environment.

    Why does Hamilton need a Recreation Master Plan?

    It has been more than ten years since the last comprehensive assessments of recreation facilities and services (2008 for indoor facilities and 2011 for outdoor facilities). Given the City’s growth, progress in the development of new parks and facilities, and shifts in community needs, the time has come to update these studies and to integrate them into a single Recreation Master Plan that will streamline implementation.

    In addition, the Recreation Master Plan is connected to several recent and ongoing City of Hamilton planning initiatives, such as the Growth-Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS 2) which is currently being updated to plan for the City’s population and job growth to 2051. Certain areas of the city are growing faster than others, creating new pressures and opportunities that will have implications for facility planning.

    What are some of the challenges and opportunities facing the City in the delivery of recreation and parks facilities and services?

    Like many other communities, Hamilton has a variety of challenges that it will need to address in the coming years related to the management of recreation and parks services. Understanding these challenges allows us to identify opportunities that respond to current and future needs. Examples include:

    • Continued growth in our population, along with changes in age composition and socio-economic diversity
    • Emerging parks and recreation needs and requests, including changing sport trends
    • Aging infrastructure and the necessity to plan for facility renewal and/or repurposing
    • Efficient and effective service delivery, including partnerships with the community and other providers
    • Funding limitations, which requires priority-setting and creative approaches

    How can I participate and give input?

    It is vital that the Recreation Master Plan account for community needs and expectations – we need ideas and feedback from the public to ensure that the plan addresses local requirements. 

    There are many ways to contribute to the Master Plan, including: online surveys; stakeholder consultation; public input sessions; and direct emails to the project team. Many of these consultation events will be scheduled in 2021. Public review of the draft plan is expected to occur in 2022. You are encouraged to check back regularly for updates and opportunities to participate.

    How might the Master Plan be impacted by the pandemic?

    Parks and recreation provide a wide range of benefits to our community and residents of all ages, including personal health, social connections and economic opportunity. Unfortunately, recreation services were among those most impacted by the pandemic as many service providers suspended or significantly modified their activities. We believe that long-term planning and strategic investment are vital to support our recovery from the pandemic. 

    We will assess potential impacts of the pandemic on long-term needs and strategies. It is possible that some behaviours witnessed during the pandemic will continue into the future, such as a growing appreciation for parks and increased outdoor activity. This may lead to rising demand for items such as community gardens, outdoor group activities, washrooms in parks and upgrades to existing recreation centres. There may also be new infrastructure needs in a post-COVID-19 setting, with a priority being placed on accessible, resilient and human-scaled spaces that provide for adequate separation. Ongoing research and consultation are critical to informing our response.

    How will you know what’s happening after the study is complete?

    Closing the loop is essential to building trust and it also builds transparency in City decision making. The City’s Project team will prepare a “what we heard” summary document of the feedback received during the engagement sessions. The summary report will be sent to the participants of the engagement and will be posted to this website.