Sackville playground leads Corktown parks revamp

Siobhan Geary–

Sackville Playground is about to undergo a significant redesign, heralding an overhaul of Corktown’s parks network.

City planners, in conjunction with Thinc Design, met with Corktown residents on March 10 to discuss plans for the park at King and Sackville. Construction is slated to begin later this year, ideally wrapping up in the spring of 2017.

“Just as Corktown is a neighbourhood of small streets, is a neighbourhood of small parks. Each park has to be taken in conjunction with each other so that they all work together cohesively,” said Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell, “Our hope is that as we get all of these parks done, Corktown will have a trail of parks where you can choose between active and passive play.”

Some of the proposed changes to the park were welcomed, principally improved lighting fixtures and designated adult recreation areas. The community was more divided when it came to the wrought iron fence. Some liked the idea of moving it to the edge of the park, making the area more appear more spacious. Others advocated to leave the fence where it is, believing that an enclosed park wouldn’t be as inviting.

The proposed vision would have also explored the neighbourhood’s industrial heritage through landforms, metallic elements and even through tool-form inspired playground equipment. However, many community members rejected this vision, expressing a desire for more green space and a distaste for “reinforcing the concrete.”

“We like to present an idea that people can react to. If you give people an idea, you’ll know what they don’t like,” said Thinc Design partner Peter Heyblom, “I was surprised because the industrial idea was kind of cool, but at the same time, this is great. We’ll come back and do something different.”