Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Will Floatplane Park Float? It’s Your Call

City survey asks whether Wiley Road location in Old Town should have planes.
With wings: the City’s schematic of the Wiley Road Park floatplane option

To floatplane or not to floatplane? That is the question the City is asking about a new waterfront park across from the Wildcat Café that is hoped will “ improve public access to the City’s waterfront.”

This Monday, the City released a survey asking the public to choose between two concept drawings for the “low-intensity parkette” on Wiley Road: one with two floatplanes moored up against a dock, and one with just canoes and other non-motorized vessels. Both images show the small gravel lot, currently used as parking for the Wildcat, transformed with a wooden boardwalk along the water, picnic tables, Muskoka chairs, some bike racks and a healthy dose of shrubbery. Though, “the two options depicted on the survey […]  may change depending on the result of consultations and the 2016 Budget process,” says the City press release.

The issue of allowing visiting floatplanes to use the park’s dock was surprisingly contentious when discussed by City Council back in October. The Latham Island Neighbourhood Association, which has long opposed more floatplane activity along the shore for safety reasons, said it could live with a limited number of visiting planes at the park. But City administration still advised council to approve the park with a “no floatplane base” clause, citing complaints from neighbours.

This suggestion was rejected by council: “When we talk about public engagement, I think we need to bring everyone to the table, and I think if we leave ‘no floatplane base’ in that motion, we’re restricting ourselves again,” said Coun. Linda Bussey at the time.

It’s part of broader issue about what to do with floatplanes, many of which use non-licensed docks along the Back Bay side of Latham Island. City administration is currently looking at bringing these docks into the legal fold with some sort of licensing, though what that will look like remains to be seen.

The whole project is expected to cost around $250,000 (the number given in October) and will involve some infilling along the edge of the lake, for which the City received a water license at the beginning of June.

The survey will be active until August 14.