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Friday, February 11, 2011

Victoria Park future is discussed

Owen Sound | by Jonathon Jackson  

A skateboard park could be one option

Victoria Park's long history as a place of leisure for Owen Sound and area residents is expected to continue well into the future.

Members of the park's various user groups packed council chambers at City Hall on Thursday to participate in a "visioning meeting" held as part of the development of a master plan for the park.

There was discussion about the Coliseum as well, and the city is adamant that it will be demolished if no one comes forward with a business plan to operate it without municipal assistance.

There was also talk of the possibility of a skateboard/bike park that would replace the current facilities on either side of Owen Sound's harbour.

A number of young people showed up to help promote that idea.

Darrell Nash, whose downtown store Vertical is a skateboard/snowboard retailer, says such a park could be a real destination, both for residents and for visitors from out of town.

Benj Albrecht, a landscape architect whose company Benj Art has been hired to create the master plan, says the city has specifically asked him to look into the feasibility of a park.

Owen Sound community services director Pam Coulter says such a facility and its patrons could very well co-exist with the park's more traditional uses and users - the agricultural society, minor soccer, school sports and others.

Albrecht says people can continue to expect a variety of uses at the park, which has been a popular gathering site in Owen Sound for a century and a half and will remain so because of the construction of the regional rec centre.

The public can still offer input into what they would like to see happen. Another public meeting has been scheduled for April 7, at which time Albrecht will unveil a conceptual design for Victoria Park.

He says he expects to make a final presentation to the city in early June.

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