A community meeting was held on March 15, 2018 to discuss the future plans of the former Willow Glen Public School property that was purchased by the City of Mississauga in December of 2016. In the gymnasium of Hillside Public School, Matthew Shilton, a planner with the City of Mississauga went through the proposed plans for the site.
When the city sold to the Peel District School Board 3.3 acres of Hillside Park they purchased the larger site of the Willow Glen Public School to compensate for the lost acreage of park space. In order to break even on the sale and purchase, the City needs to make back $3 million to break even.
Due to the increase in land values in Park Royal they City is proposing six single family home lots of a similar size to surrounding properties be sold. This is in contrast to the original plans to sell 10 lots to raise the necessary money.
The last open house hosted by the City regarding the plans for the former Willow Glen Public School property was hosted on November 10, 2015 where a desire for a community garden and picnic tables were expressed.
There were two concepts for the site shown but both include: six single family home lots, a soccer field meant for junior soccer, a 21-space parking lot, an asphalt pathway, and play equipment for children.
Where the two concepts differ is the direction of the soccer field. One rendition has the length of the soccer field going east and west and the other north and south. Also, one indicates space for a volunteer maintained outdoor community rink and the other a community garden (much like the one located at Hillside Park).
Some members of the Park Royal community voiced their displeasure with some of the process, expressing their feeling that the City is not listening to what they would like in the park, instead telling what has to be included.
As part of the City plans the park was not intended to have lighting. This is done as a way to discourage use of the park at night reducing loitering, graffiti and criminal activity as City parks are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
After discussion with the community it was deemed that the possibility of lighting in the park would be looked at.
The discussion grew louder from a few passionate attendees that wanted a baseball diamond instead of a soccer field since there were diamonds before Willow Glen Public School was torn down. Eric Lucic, Manager of Park Planning explained that the City has a need for increased city owned soccer fields in South Mississauga based on the City’s recreation master plan called Future Directions. Also, a baseball diamond to the City’s specifications would not fit on the property. He further explained that although there are a number of soccer fields in Park Royal, they are on school owned properties and not parks maintained by the City.
As the meeting came to a conclusion there was some discussion of including a basketball net either in place of the community rink or community garden or to be the summer spot when the community rink is not in use. There was also a desire in the room from members of the community for the City to keep the willow tree planted by Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion at the Willow Glen Public School.
At the end of the meeting Karen Ras, the City Councillor for Ward 2, mentioned that park features that can not be afforded now by the City could still be done later when funding for the capital project becomes available.
For those residents of Park Royal who were unable to attend the community meeting they may provide their comments to Erin Senior, Planner, Park Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (905) 615-3200 ext. 5825.