News / Ottawa

Sandy Hill community association turns down outdoor fitness equipment

Ward councillor Mathieu Fleury said the outdoor gym equipment is supposed to encourage adults to do strength and fitness training in public spaces.

Walter Palaroan works out at a Snider Parkette fitness park a free gym made for working out outdoors in Toronto, Ontario, September 23, 2015.

Todd Korol/Toronto Star

Walter Palaroan works out at a Snider Parkette fitness park a free gym made for working out outdoors in Toronto, Ontario, September 23, 2015.

You can walk, run and stretch in Sandy Hill’s Strathcona Park, but you won’t be able to use any specialized “outdoor fitness equipment” that the city was thinking of installing.

Ward councillor Mathieu Fleury said the outdoor gym equipment, popular in other cities, is supposed to encourage adults to do strength and fitness training in public spaces. But community association Action Sandy Hill decided not to support the project, bringing an end to the proposal.

Fleury said his team distributed a flyer in every Sandy Hill mailbox and invited those who couldn’t attend a consultation barbecue to leave feedback online. He said over 80 per cent of people who responded to the idea through the flyers were supportive.

Fleury said he reached out to the community association for their opinion, which came back negative after the group launched their own consultation.

“I thought it was a bit weird. For us, we invited everyone in Sandy Hill, every mailbox,” he said. “It’s disappointing because when you do park improvement you want support from the entire community.”

Fleury said $80,000 was earmarked for the project. Action Sandy Hill recommended spreading out the equipment or putting it in another park, but Fleury said neither option was possible.

He said spreading out equipment would be too expensive and there are concerns about isolated parks where injuries wouldn’t be noticed.

The city councillor said he’d continue to try and find a solution in Sandy Hill, otherwise the equipment could go another area in the Rideau-Vanier ward.

Action Sandy Hill president Chad Rollins said the community association launched their own consultation because they wanted input from their members. Their survey had 85 responses, with 55.3 per cent opposed to the equipment in Strathcona Park.

“We need green space, not ‘fitness stations,” wrote one anonymous correspondent. “The park is perfect as it is. Please leave it alone.”

Most negative reactors said they’d prefer to see lighting and trashcans improved instead and were concerned about disturbing the historical character of the park.