Parks Operations is responsible for the maintenance of all the parkland, natural open space areas and trails within the City of Barrie.
The Parks Operations section is one of the three sections within the Roads and Parks Branch of the Roads, Parks and Fleet Department. The section consists of four sub-sections; Forestry, Horticulture, Turf Maintenance, and Sports Fields and Playgrounds. The below will describe each in further detail.
The Forestry Section maintains an inventory of 32,327 boulevard street trees, parks trees in 117 parks totaling 625 acres and trees in 36 open space locations totaling 2,190 acres. This Section responds to approximately 1,200 work orders for tree issues per year and removes on average 200 trees. The preventative maintenance programs consist of street tree pruning; tree inspections, tree preservation, integrated pest management and tree fertilization to ensure that the City of Barrie’s trees are safe are healthy. Forestry staff responds to after hour emergencies to remove trees or branches that have been knocked down during wind storms throughout the year.
The Horticulture Section maintains 308 hanging baskets and 209 flower barrels in the downtown areas along with the 39 planter locations and 50 park flower beds. All of the plant material totaling 270,000 annuals for these displays are grown by staff in the five City Greenhouses and planted out in early June. The maintenance of the waterfront parks and washroom facilities, beach and shoreline restoration and boulevard shrub beds are all part of this sections responsibilities. The greenhouses are also used to grow the poinsettias, forced bulbs, begonias, and the foliage plants that decorate City Hall and other City facilities. The annual Community in Blooms competition that the City of Barrie enters into each year is co-ordinated through the Horticulture Section. The Parks Section has been successful in maintaining a 5 Bloom rating for many years.
The Turf Maintenance Section maintains the turf in the 117 parks totaling 625 acres, 40 gore locations, 24 boulevard locations totaling 36 kms, and 20 municipal facilities. With the restrictions on pesticide use on municipal property the use of many cultural practices including aeration, over seeding, topdressing and fertilization are used to keep the turf in the parks healthy.
This Section maintains the many trails through the parks including the waterfront trail, the North Shore trail, the Trans Canada trail and the Nine Mile Portage trail. The 2190 acres of open space in the City have many minor trails along with the Off Leash Dog Park that is located adjacent to Sunnidale Park. Debris pick up and collection is a continual task especially during the summer season when the parks are used from dawn to dusk.
During the winter season this Section co-ordinates the Natural Ice Rink Program for the community totaling 26 volunteer based rinks along with 4 staff maintained rinks.
Sportsfields & Playgrounds
The Sports Field and Playground Section maintain 49 soccer fields and 40 baseball diamonds that are in the parks and at the Barrie Community Sports Park. This Section maintains 131 playground units, tennis courts and the beach grooming. The inspection and maintenance of the playground units is completed on a continual basis throughout the year to ensure the safety of the public. The structures are checked for compliance to CSA playground standards, deficiencies due to wear and tear and vandalism, and the surfaces are loosened to prevent injuries due to falls.
The sportsfields receive an extensive Plant Health Care Program to ensure that they are in top shape and are able to withstand all of the use from the sports and school groups. Staff continues to implement a wet field policy during periods of inclement weather to prevent field damage and to protect the players from injuries.