Statement on Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus Parks

full bike rack

There’s been a lot of discussion about the Bonnerworth Park project over the last several months as the City gets ready to invest in recreation features in the park. Here’s a bit of an overview of how we got here and what’s coming at both Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus Park. 

The Bonnerworth Park and Knights of Columbus Park projects are about investing in and rejuvenating those community parks that are already used for active outdoor recreation purposes, as part of a larger plan for outdoor recreation facilities throughout the city. 

Healthy, thriving cities have parks and recreation facilities that meet the changing needs of their residents. 

The City of Peterborough is taking a strategic approach to park planning, including the most recent Parks and Outdoor Recreation Facilities Study, which included engagement with residents and stakeholder groups. Council approved the plan in fall of 2023. The first project to come from that plan is investments in two centrally located parks on main arterial roads with good access to transit routes that were identified as recreation hubs serving the broader community, not just the immediately adjacent neighbourhoods. 

What’s there now 

Bonnerworth Park at Monaghan Road and McDonnel Street is an active-use park with two baseball fields, four tennis courts, a skateboard park, and a parking lot. The existing four tennis courts currently serve as multi-sport courts and operate as either four tennis courts, or eight pickleball courts. depending on the user’s preference. are regularly used for pickleball – which accommodate eight pickleball courts on the existing four tennis courts. 

Knights of Columbus Park on Park Street includes the Legacy Bowl for outdoor lacrosse and other outdoor concrete pad sport uses, a playground, four pickleball courts, a wading pool, and a parking lot.  

Both parks are in need of rejuvenation and investment. 

They’re active use parks with Bonnerworth already mostly covered by sport fields and facilities. Across the street from Bonnerworth is Hamilton Park and an entrance to Jackson Park. 

Future 

For Bonnerworth Park, the outdoor recreation facilities study recommended the City invest in expanding the skateboard park, creating a new bike pump track, and adding 16 pickleball courts.  

The tennis courts at Bonnerworth will be removed and new tennis courts will be built at Knights of Columbus Park. This will ensure no loss in total tennis courts for the City overall.   

The baseball fields at Bonnerworth are low-quality fields that are underutilized, with an average use of two hours a day over the entire week, typically just between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. They will be removed; however, the capacity will be offset as the City has already started to invest in maintaining and adding capacity of baseball fields in other parks, with the ball diamond at Stacey Green Park upgraded ahead of this season and two more ball diamonds slated for upgrades for next year. 

At Knights of Columbus, besides the new tennis courts, the City will plan for upgrades to the Legacy Bowl, pathways in the park, a shade structure, a park washroom, upgrading the wading pool to a splash pad, and other enhancements to improve the space.  

Pickleball is a well-established sport in Canada with a strong and growing presence in Peterborough. It is a low-cost sport that is being embraced by all ages and all socio-economic groups. Pickleball players are using the few pickleball courts that are available, but since the City doesn’t have enough facilities to meet demand, they are improvising by using tennis courts and multi-purpose gymnasiums. Similar to how the City invests in soccer fields, football fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, multi-use facilities, and ice pads – and charges user fees to offset costs – this investment begins to address the recreational needs of City residents. 

How we got here 

Council approved the $2-million budget for the first phase of the Bonnerworth project in the City’s 2024 Budget in December 2023, including a $2.4-million pre-commitment for the second phase of the project in 2025.  

The total $4.4-million project budget is for the complete Bonnerworth project, including the expanded skateboard park, the specialized bike pump track, the new pickleball courts, and associated landscaping. 

The first phase of the Knights of Columbus project to build four new tennis courts with associated lighting was also approved in the City’s 2024 Budget. 

A coordinated investment in those two parks was supported by City Council as part of the approval of outdoor recreation facilities study in October 2023.  

Here’s a high level rundown of some key dates in the process: 

  • July 2018-October 2019 – Assessment of Parks and Open Space done by consultant to provide recommended facility needs based on usage statistics and population projections, as well as an analysis of all parks. 

  • February 2020 – Assessment of Parks and Open Space report presented to Council. 

  • June 2021 – Parks and Open Space Implementation Plan to set out a process for parks planning and provide a process for addressing new requests for parks facilities is presented to the City’s Arenas, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, which is a citizen’s advisory committee that provides feedback for City activities. 

  • October 2022 – Surveys for pickleball and tennis facility needs, with 258 and 97 responses, respectively. 

  • June 2023 – Stakeholder consultations with tennis and pickleball facility user groups. 

  • July 2023 – Focus group meetings with ball field and sport field facility user groups. 

  • August 2023 – Meetings with representatives from school boards and post-secondary institutions on parks and sport fields needs in their organizations. 

  • August 2023 – Meetings with representatives from townships and First Nations to review Parks and Outdoor Recreation Facilities Study. 

  • August 2023 – Arenas, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee special meeting to review results from the Parks and Outdoor Recreation Facilities Study, including the recommendations for the Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus projects. 

  • October 2023 – Draft Parks and Outdoor Recreation Facilities Study posted for public review and emailed to all participants of public and stakeholder consultation meetings that had occurred throughout the process. 

  • October 10, 2023 – City Council considers and endorses Parks and Outdoor Recreation Facilities Study during its General Committee meeting. 

  • October 23, 2023 – City Council unanimously approves the Parks and Outdoor Recreation Facilities Study during its regular Council meeting, which included delegations from residents and sport user groups. As part of this approval, Council provided specific direction on the Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus projects. 

  • December 2023 – City Council unanimously approves the City’s 2024 Budget, which includes the first phase of the Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus projects as well as a pre-commitment for the second phase of the Bonnerworth project in 2025. 

  • February 2024 to April 2024 – Consultations specific to Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus projects launched, with surveys for the two generating 833 and 101 responses, respectively. There were more than 5,500 visitors to the Bonnerworth project page and 852 visitors to the Knights of Columbus project page. 

  • March 19, 2024 – City met with representatives from cycling community, pickleball facility users, and the Peterborough Skateboard Coalition about the Bonnerworth project design. 

  • March 21, 2024 – City held a public information session about the Bonnerworth project with an estimated attendance of more than 100 people. Invitations were dropped off at homes in the surrounding neighbourhoods and posters were put up at the park to promote the meeting, along with promotion online and through local media. 

  • April 4, 2024 – City met with tennis community representatives about the Knights of Columbus project. 

  • April 4, 2024 – City held a public information session about Knights of Columbus project, with an estimated attendance of about 50 people, including about 20 people who attended to speak with City representatives about the Bonnerworth project and who met separately with senior City staff for questions and answers. 

  • April 2, 2024 – City Council considers and does not support a motion to look at alternatives for the Bonnerworth Park project. 

  • April 8, 2024 – City Council hears public delegations on the Bonnerworth Park project and considers a motion to look at alternatives. Council did not support motion to look at alternatives to the Bonnerworth project. Project proceeds as previously approved by Council. 

  • May 13, 2024 – A Notice of Motion is put forward at City Council’s General Committee meeting to have City Council provide approval for the Bonnerworth project after Council considers the site plan, final technical studies, a record of consultation, and the cost of each aspect of the construction. Council upholds the meeting Chairperson’s decision to rule the motion out of order based on the previous Council direction regarding the project. 

The City has heard from residents and stakeholder groups, with two main concerns being noise associated with pickleball and the amount of parking that is being contemplated for the Bonnerworth project, as well as comments by some that the ball diamonds are viewed as general greenspace that should not be replaced with other active use outdoor recreation facilities.  

The City is doing the detailed design work and the necessary studies, including noise and traffic studies, which will inform the final design. Noise attenuation – the need to manage potential noise impacts – is included as part of the project budget. 

What’s next 

In addition to the previous input from community consultation and stakeholder groups, background studies will be completed to inform the detailed design of the project. 

Phase 1 of the Bonnerworth and Knights of Columbus projects includes the construction of pickleball courts at Bonnerworth park (with any necessary landscaping and sound attenuation) and the tennis courts at Knights of Columbus this year. Council has pre-committed funding in the City’s 2025 Budget for Phase 2 of Bonnerworth Park for next year, which will include expanding the skateboard park and building a new bike pump track.