2019 PRO Award of Excellence: Park or Facility Design (Under 30,000)
East Gwillimbury Nokiidaa Trail Extension
York Region is the fasting growing regional municipality in the Greater Toronto Area, creating greater need for services and facilities that address the issues that come with larger populations. This year's Park or Facility Design winner has addressed just this issue, improving mobility and enhancing the environmental well-being of a community facing tremendous growth.
The East Gwillimbury Nokiidaa Trail Extension is a 4 kilometre section of the Lake to Lake Cycling and Walking Trail connecting Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe. In 2018, the Town of East Gwillimbury undertook a project to enhance the Trail Extension to make it more usable for the community, encourage active transportation, and inspire greater appreciation for the environment. Prior to construction, cyclists and pedestrians crossed the 2nd Concession—a major north south arterial corridor in the York Region—at grade. Now, residents are able to navigate the area using an elevated wooden boardwalk, thereby improving mobility and enhancing the adjacent environment.
During design, it became clear that the Rogers Reservoir Wetlands represented an opportunity to engage the public in dialogue about environmental restoration. With the help of low-impact equipment, the trail remained open during construction, allowing community members to watch the site during its transformation. Now completed, an elevated platform extending over the water provides visitors with the opportunity to interact directly with the wetland and an “outdoor classroom” for nearby schools. Feedback from the community about the project has been overwhelmingly positive. Local residents have become directly connected and are taking ownership of the project, planting over 1,600 native trees and shrubs around the wetland and along the Nokiidaa Trail at 5 community events.
2019 PRO Award of Excellence: Operations (Under 30,000)
2018 Parks and Forestry Challenge
In 2018, the Town of East Gwillimbury hosted the 2018 Parks & Forestry Challenge welcoming all 10 Region of York municipalities to the community. The York Region Parks and Forestry challenge is an annual professional development and team building event focused on parks and forestry field operations. It helps connect municipalities to build capacity and resiliency within the Region of York through the sharing of resources, equipment, and knowledge. The event is focused on networking, team building, education, skill development, and building resiliency capacity. The challenge typically improves on staff motivation and training, builds capacity and resiliency, and improved efficiency. Proceeds from the event fund a community tree planting event in the Town.