The following response is being communicated to city planning staff who bear responsibility for oversight of the development being permitted on the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site. See Skipping a Step for background.
Response to Conditions for Development Permit for 2220 Kingsway
Although there is no formal opportunity for public input to the development permit process for 2220 Kingsway, I would like to comment on the conditions set by the Planning Department. I am particularly concerned about the public space proposed for this site.
The Norquay Plan expected that this site would be open, with a central plaza activated by retail around the edges. Instead, what has been approved is a podium with three towers. The public space has been relegated to the edge of the site along Gladstone, with a “plaza” at the northwest corner of the site and a “park” at the southwest corner. Planners and the developer have made much of the fact that
the proposal surpasses the Norquay Plan’s requirement for a single 557-743 m2 (6,000-8,000 sq.ft.)
outdoor plaza by contributing two separate open spaces, with a combined area of 1,128 m2
(12,141 sq.ft.) — (Council Report of Feb. 26, 2013, p. 6) 
Subsequent to the rezoning, 30-40% of the “park” has been assigned to an outdoor patio for the proposed restaurant and a green barrier to separate the patio from the park. The placement of three large exhaust grates in the “public space” along Gladstone renders much of the rest of the space unappealing. The “plaza” is basically the entrance to the proposed grocery store. Only about 25% of the claimed 12,000 sq. ft. is actually usable public space.
The conditions do very little to address this situation. No one will want to sit anywhere near the exhaust grates, no matter how much is done to beautify their appearance or what kind of seating is attached to them. The original placement of trees between the grate at the southwest corner and the rest of the park was presumably meant to shield the park from the exhaust. Paving the area and moving the trees will not make this usable space.
I have huge reservations about planting fruit trees in a public park of this size. Most of the fruit will be left to fall and decay on the ground — with an even worse result if the area under the trees is paved. In addition, the trees will attract fruit flies and other insects. Certainly no one will want to sit under the trees while there is fruit on them.
The chess tables are a good idea, but I see no redesign of the “playground” space to make it more appealing to children. It is unclear what constitutes the “tai chi area.”
It seems that the public space has been designed to make sure the public cannot or will not use it.
Jeanette Jones, Norquay Resident
September 17, 2013