Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Cash-in-lieu of parkland balance

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Earlier this week, I received the latest cash-in-lieu of parkland balances. These funds derive from a payment that's made by developers (large and small) instead of providing parkland.

The Kitchissippi balance as of December 31, 2015 is better news than I was expecting. We had as of a couple of months ago a balance of $340,107 available for capital expenditures on parks in the ward. It's important to note that while this looks healthy, I'll soon be authorizing most of that to re-pay a debt we incurred earlier in this term of Council.

When I was first elected, there was an outstanding commitment from the previous term to build a new fieldhouse at Van Lang - the community at the corner of Churchill and Scott. It's very much needed. Unfortunately, work had been halted on the project since there was insufficient money left in the cash-in-lieu account at the end of the last term. With a floor poured and services in, and the promise made to the community to build the field house, I felt strongly about following through with that commitment. To get work back on track, I arranged to borrow the necessary funds from three of my colleagues' own parks funds - just around $300,000 worth. We'd set the reasonable expectation that that could be repaid within about 18 months. I'm very pleased that we are now in a position to re-pay that debt sooner than I'd hoped. 

(Note that the Van Lang field house is just about finished. I and the City are haggling over some extras that would help us improve the space's programming potential. The space will be overseen by the Dovercourt Recreation Association, with use carved out for the Carlington Community Health Centre, the Westboro Beach Community Association, and Ottawa Community Housing. Stay tuned.)

Once I've authorized the transfer back to my colleagues, we'll essentially be starting from scratch. City staff are preparing to help us facilitate some conversations around how to use future funds. I have a long list of requests on my desk. None are more pressing in my mind than getting some improvements made to Laroche Park. Mechanicsville was largely left out of cash-in-lieu spending in the previous term. It looks very encouraging to have the delayed Sens Rink built in 2017, and I'd like to leverage that work to improve other elements. That's still a conversation for the community to have, but I can foresee building a reserve for Laroche Park out of new dollars coming in, while leaving a meaningful amount available for multiple smaller projects that we've identified across the whole ward.

There is also $315,660 in a cash-in-lieu account specifically for the Preston-Carling district, which will be used to implement projects identified in the Public Realm and Mobility Study for the area. Those span both Kitchissippi and Somerset wards. That specific direction was approved as part and parcel of approving the Preston-Carling Community Design Plan.

Click here or on the post attachment below to see the latest cash-in-lieu update from the City.

Posted February 6, 2016