The first of the park properties was purchased 32 years ago and by 1997, 12 contiguous properties had been assembled.
Residents know this bay is home to numerous waterfowl and predatory birds. Osprey, bald eagle, kingfishers and even the occasional golden eagle can be seen diving into the shallow waters to catch their prey. For years, residents walked past the city owned rental properties feeling they were being denied access to the water.
Residents organized to form a non profit society, the KLO Central Neighbourhood Association. Our little part of the city is known as ‘Pandosy by the Lake’ but proposed developments seemed out of place with the village feel. Residents felt the park would make the connection to the lake stronger. They advocated not only for this park but a community plan for the area.
As time went on, a residential tower went up and other larger developments were proposed in the Pandosy area. Meanwhile, the Park properties remained as rental housing. Even a Paddle Centre on 1/4of this parkland failed to appease residents who just wanted a public park.
The persistence of the KLO Neighbourhood Association has paid off. In fact, two of our members, Bob Whitehead and Michael Neill, kept the dream of a park alive. Nine years ago residents rallied and rejected plans to sell off portions of this park to offset building costs. Finally, the city created a fund from taxation for parks construction in 2020 and now we see plenty of parks being completed.
As homes become smaller and more expensive, there is a need for outdoor space. As we saw during the pandemic, outdoor space is needed.
This park completion is truly an example of how citizen groups can effectively influence city direction. Through this process, communication channels have been opened with city and council resulting in a more harmonious relationship.
Neighbourhood Associations serve to mediate between its residents and the city. They are truly a value to a community.