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Outdoor Sports Field Strategy

The City of Waterloo's outdoor sports field strategy provides a long-term plan (2012 to 2031) for multipurpose sports fields in this city. The vision is to ensure residents have access to quality outdoor sports fields throughout the city, thereby fostering individual and community health and capacity for sport and play. This strategy is linked closely with the community, culture and recreation services master plan, the culture plan and the Waterloo Park master plan.  

Outdoor sports field strategy implementation - baseball diamonds

The city recognizes there has been an increase in organized sport use of diamonds across the city for all ages. The current sports field inventory is under pressure year after year due to fluctuating interests for sports activity, growth in the community, availability of our fields and diamonds and land use changes over time. Staff work to continue a focus on minor sports groups, key partnerships and to develop strategies around future development and land opportunities across the city. Maximizing utilization of our outdoor sports fields is a strategic priority identified in the 2012 outdoor sports field strategy. It's important that we improve the use and quality of the existing sports fields before developing new ones. This means increasing the amount of time each field can be used in a sustainable way and maximizing field bookings.

On Feb. 26, 2018, staff brought draft recommendations regarding ball diamond upgrades to council. Council approved a plan to do renovation work and upgrades to the diamonds at Gatestone Park and Eastbridge Green to enhance the overall inventory of ball diamonds in Waterloo and address the growth of baseball that is happening at all age levels. Council also authorized staff to complete a lighting study, public engagement and concept design for RIM Park diamonds 4, 5 and 6 and Waterloo Park diamonds 3 and 4 including the hiring of external consulting services and reporting the outcomes of this study back to council once completed. Council also directed staff to create a five-year baseball improvement plan to be implemented as part of the outdoor sports field strategy. 

Public engagement regarding community baseball diamonds

In March, April and May 2017, stakeholder meetings and public information sessions with diamond user groups, the community and other key stakeholder groups were held to share alternatives regarding a proposed transition of Waterloo Park baseball diamonds 1 and 2 into the new proposed festival area. Staff collected input regarding the alternatives in order to ensure user groups are reallocated to appropriate facilities that meet their needs. In June, 2017, staff presented an update to council on the progress of the project including feedback received to that date regarding the transfer of ball diamonds 1 and 2. In November, two additional public information sessions were held to provide an update to the community regarding ball diamond opportunities. On Feb. 22, 2018, an information centre was held with the Laurelwood community to share recommendations for the effective use of existing ball diamonds, including the ball diamond located at Gatestone Park. On Feb. 26, council approved this renovation work. Below is a summary of the public engagement that has taken place:

Council presentation - Feb. 26, 2018

Council received a report and approved a plan to do renovation work and upgrades to the diamonds at Gatestone Park and Eastbridge Green to enhance the overall inventory of ball diamonds in Waterloo and address the growth of baseball that is happening at all age levels. Council also authorized staff to complete a lighting study, public engagement and concept design for RIM park diamonds 4, 5 and 6 and Waterloo park diamonds 3 and 4 including the hiring of external consulting services and reporting the outcomes of this study back to council once completed. Council also directed staff to create a five-year baseball improvement plan to be implemented as part of the outdoor sports field strategy.

Public information centre - Feb. 22, 2018

At this public information centre, held at Laurelwood Public School, staff shared details of draft recommendations that were going to council on Feb. 26 regarding the effective use of existing ball diamonds, including the ball diamonds located at Gatestone park in the Laurelwood neighbourhood.

Public information centres - Nov. 16 and 27, 2017

At this public information centre, staff continued the planning process to identify ball diamond opportunities that address:

  • the growth of the community and of baseball in the community for all age groups;
  • the potential relocation of two baseball diamonds (1 and 2) from Waterloo Park to other locations in the city in order to fulfill plans for a festival heart;
  • the consideration of future improvements to diamonds 3 and 4 in Waterloo Park; and
  • maintenance and upgrades to existing diamonds in the city and other lands in the community.
  • the growth of the community and of baseball in the community for all age groups;
  • the potential relocation of two baseball diamonds (1 and 2) from Waterloo Park to other locations in the city in order to fulfill plans for a festival heart;
  • the consideration of future improvements to diamonds 3 and 4 in Waterloo Park; and
  • maintenance and upgrades to existing diamonds in the city and other lands in the community.

The following boards were available at this public information session:

Please note: the above presentation boards are not accessible in their current format. If you require this document in an alternative format please contact communications@waterloo.ca, 519-747-8731, TTY 1-866-786-3941.

Council presentation - June 19, 2017

On Monday, June 19, during a regularly scheduled council meeting, staff presented a council report that provided an update to council on the progress of the project, including sharing the feedback received to date regarding the transfer of programming from ball diamonds 1 and 2 in order to provide space for a proposed festival area in the heart of the park. Council directed staff to proceed with phase two of the project:

  • to identify and evaluate opportunities to transition diamonds 1 and 2 from their current use to a festival area;
  • to consider short, medium and long-term diamond pressures;
  • to use guiding principles from the sports field strategy to evaluate all opportunities;
  • to develop preferred options;
  • to further engage the community (Fall, 2017) and seek feedback on preferred options; and
  • to report back to council in the Fall of 2017 with a preferred alternative or suite of alternatives. 

Public information centre - May 16, 2017

A number of initiatives are taking place in Waterloo Park including:

  • upgrades to the Central Street entranceway to the park;
  • trail improvements to the central promenade (Laurel/Trans Canada Trail) that runs through the park and will operate parallel to the Region of Waterloo's light rail transit (LRT) corridor;
  • the transfer of programming from two existing ball diamonds (1 and 2) in Waterloo Park in order to  provide space for a proposed festival area in the heart of the park;
  • the beginning of an environmental assessment addendum to address issues with Silver Lake and Laurel Creek within the park; and
  • the beginning of a park strategy to develop a vision for our park systems throughout Waterloo.

An informal public information centre was held where residents could learn more about the changes planned for Waterloo Park and speak with the project managers involved in the above initiatives.

Public information centres - April 5 and 19, 2017

Upgrading existing ball diamonds, including Eastbridge Park and Laurelwood Park, will take place to improve the quality of these diamonds, increase usability and support a re-distribution of needs throughout the city's existing ball diamond inventory. When the Eastbridge and Laurelwood Park ball diamonds are upgraded:

  • the footprint of the baseball fields will stay the same size;
  • the fields will not have additional lighting; and
  • programming will be age appropriate relative to the size of the diamond.

On Wed., April 5, 2017, a public information session was held at the Lester B. Pearson School - Library. A summary of the feedback recorded at this session is provided here. In addition, on Wed., April 19, 2017 a public information session was held at Laurelwood Public School. A summary of the feedback recorded at this session is provided here. Meetings were also held with the Laurelwood Neighbourhood Association and the Eastbridge Neighbourhood Association.

The following boards were available at the public information sessions:

More information about the outdoor sportsfield strategy

The following seven strategic goals exist to form the core of the overall sports strategy. These goals speak to areas of greatest need where meaningful changes are feasible within available resources.

  • To improve the safety and long-term quality of outdoor sports fields
  • To maximize use and expand the amount of programmable time at existing fields to maximize the use of these fields prior to new development
  • To develop new outdoor sports fields, within available resources while recognizing competing pressures, based on population growth and field-need projections
  • To enable participation in physical fitness activities in Waterloo through improved outdoor sports field access for neighbourhood, recreation and competitive use for the full range of outdoor sports of public interest in Waterloo
  • To increase capacity throughout the sport and recreation services system in Waterloo to allow for continuous improvement in field maintenance, allocation and management
  • To pursue, facilitate and encourage innovative partnerships for the provision of access to outdoor sports fields
  • To invest in enhanced communication, relationship building and collaboration between city staff and outdoor sport organizations

In addition to the growth of organized sport use of diamonds, the Waterloo Park Master Plan recommends a new festival heart area which would replace two existing baseball diamonds in Waterloo Park (1 and 2) off Father David Bauer Drive. In 2015, council directed staff (see council report COM2015-009) to investigate and implement strategic ball diamond upgrades to accommodate the proposed transfer of programming from two existing ball diamonds (1 and 2) in Waterloo Park in order to provide space for a proposed festival heart area. Please note: The Waterloo Park baseball diamonds will not be removed until they are accommodated elsewhere in the community. 

As a result, the city is undertaking a process to identify opportunities and input to enhance infrastructure and to be more effective in the usage of existing diamonds. Staff are exploring upgrades to existing baseball diamonds across the city that will improve the quality of the diamond and/or increase usability. Staff are also investigating alternate land in the city's inventory that can cater to ball diamond play. A report to council dated Jan. 16, 2017 outlines details of the outdoor sports field strategy implementation. 

Questions?

If you would like more information, or have any questions or concerns about this project or related projects taking place in Waterloo Park, please contact the project manager listed above or e-mail sportsfieldimplementation@waterloo.ca.

If you would like to receive updates about this project or other related projects and changes taking place in Waterloo Park, please register for our news alerts.

A number of questions have been asked about the ball diamonds and the festival area. These frequently asked questions and answers are provided here for clarification.