At their July 25 meeting, Huntsville council agreed to direct staff to work with the Downtown Huntsville BIA to secure three umbrellas for the three seating areas at Kent Park.
The umbrellas would be purchased by the BIA, which would develop a plan to set up and remove the umbrellas on a daily basis. The BIA would also develop an inclement weather plan that would include identifying says when the umbrellas would not be available as well as the urgent removal of the umbrellas in case of unexpected high winds.
Council representative on the BIA, Councillor Bob Stone, told council that at its last Board meeting the BIA recognized that there is little or no shade at the park because the trees are still saplings. “So the BIA just wants to help fix the problem. So they’re prepared to purchase the umbrellas, manage them by putting them out and taking them down. Staff recognized that wind can be an issue with larger umbrellas so staff will work with the BIA to tether them so they don’t fly away but I think this is a wonderful gesture from the BIA,” he said.
Councillor Dione Schumacher said she’d like to see greater attention paid to the provision of shade in parks in general. “I’ve been approached by people in Utterson and Port Sydney area where we have playgrounds and you have, with climate change happening right now, grandparents are the ones that are doing a lot of the care and they’re out there in the sun watching kids play and we have a number of parks and areas that there isn’t necessarily a shade complement to our park system,” she said, adding that she wants to see that considered in future.
Councillor Tim Withey clarified that the umbrellas were being purchased by the BIA. He also asked whether any thought had gone into putting in larger trees in the park. “I would like to see that. I believe the public would like to see that, I believe the cost is exorbitant but I think we should ask staff to look into that,” said Stone.
Mayor Karin Terziano said the fair answer to that is that council had tree specs for both Main Street and Kent Park “and I don’t think anybody really knew if it’s a nine-metre tree, what a nine-metre tree is or a six-metre tree… it’s pretty hard to look at engineered drawing and understand what size of a tree you’re getting but a replacement is always possible,” she added.
“I did a little research myself and I found out that if we get a readily available 20-foot maple or oak delivered for under $1,000 from a nursery in Ontario,” said Councillor Withey. He said the cost excludes HST. “It would come in a big spade truck, you’ve seen those, we would just have to have a hole dug for it… just throwing that out there.”
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