City hall outdoor spaces


View the master plan that was presented to the community and infrastructure services committee on Sept 12, 2016.

Kitchener City Hall and the surrounding outdoor amenities were built in 1991. Each year tens of thousands of people use the spaces around city hall whether they're attending a large event like the Kitchener Blues Festival, one of our smaller events like Discovery Square, skating on the rink during the winter months or taking a lunch or coffee break at one of the various seating areas. Nearly 25 years later, many of the infrastructure components are in need of repair, retrofit or replacement.

Before going ahead and simply replacing or repairing the individual elements that need it, staff took the opportunity to look at the big picture and will develop a master plan that identifies what the priorities are, what work needs to be done at the same time (for example repairs to the parking garage underneath the square) and what changes could be made to better use the space for the type of programming the community wants to see.

On Sept. 12 the community and infrastructure committee directed staff to come back with a funding and implementation strategy to address critical infrastructure repairs including surface concrete, trench drains and the waterproofing membrane for the parking garage. They also voted in favour of exploring a funding and implementation plan to replace the ice rink, fountain and stage while the critical work is being done. The intent would be for staff to report back in 2017 with a plan on how the work could be implemented and funded which would include looking for some non-tax funded dollars. 

Public input

The project was first introduced to the public through an open house in September 2015, prior to the development of initial design concepts. The goal of the first open house was to provide the public with an overview of the current site conditions and to obtain a clear direction in regards to their vision for the development of a master plan for both civic spaces.

A second open house was held in March 2016 to present the project design intent and two proposed master plan options for both Carl Zehr Square and the Duke Street Entrance. 

In connection with each of the open house events, an online survey was made available to the public in which questions were posed and the public was given the opportunity to provide general feedback on the project.

In addition to the open houses and stakeholder working group meetings, meetings were also held with the Public Art Working Group and the Grand River Accessibility Awareness Committee. Information gathered from these meetings formed part of the design intent and overall master plan concept.

The final concept was then posted for feedback on EngageKitchener from June-August 2016. 

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