Township of Severn: Natural Playground, Locke Subdivision

Municipal Profile

Severn is a rural township in south-central Ontario, located in the Severn Sound watershed between Lake Couchiching, and the Severn River (both are part of the Trent–Severn Waterway) in Simcoe County. The current township was founded on January 1, 1994, as part of the restructuring of Simcoe County, by amalgamating the village of Coldwater with the townships of Matchedash and Orillia, plus portions of the townships of Medonte and Tay. The current population is approximately 12,377 (+2.9% from 2006, Statistics Canada, 2011), and growth projections indicate that the Township’s population will increase by 5,200 during the period of 1996-2016, with the majority of that growth to be located to the communities of Coldwater, Washago, and Westshore.

Project Name and Description

The Locke Subdivision Playground project is municipal parkland which was outfitted with playground equipment and underwent protective surfacing. The location of the parkland is at the corner of Elsa Drive and Berkshire Woods, 2055 Berkshire Woods Lane, in Severn Township. Tender documents were prepared in conjunction with PlanByDesign ( per the contract arrangement in place with the Township – with the bids compared on a set of criteria, one being Environmental, and more specifically:

  • 'A provision for a ‘natural’ looking playground and protective surfacing that relates to the natural setting of the parkland area.
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points – if any, and
  • Site is a natural treed lot. Trees will be removed at the specific site and the site left in a natural site condition'.

Project Lead

Patricia Harwood
Manager of Recreation and Facilities
Township of Severn
P.O. Box 159
1024 Hurlwood Lane
Orillia, ON
L3V 6H4
P: 705.325.2315 x.253

Additional Project Contact (Consultants)

PlanByDesign, Urban Planners and Landscape Architects
P: 705.325.0068

Playpower LT Canada Inc
2-326 Grand River Street North
Paris, ON
N3L 3R7
P: 519.442.6331

Date of Implementation

Completion July 31, 2016

Project Goals

Playgrounds are an important part of a complete community. Families and their children receive a breadth of benefits from having outdoor spaces nearby where they can be active and engage with other members of their community. Other benefits include:

Physical Benefits

Many children in North American are inactive and unhealthy. Playground equipment gets children moving and having fun at the same time - slides provide climbing exercise for the legs; bars exercise arms and shoulders; jungle gyms strengthen arms, legs and shoulders; and all the equipment together encourages children to run from one piece to another, giving them the experience of cardiovascular and heart-healthy exercise.

Social Benefits

Playgrounds and playground equipment offer families, children and other memners of the community the opportunity to be around one another and develop new relationships. Group interaction and social development take place on playground equipment in a number of ways: children learn how to take turns and exercise self-control waiting for a swing to open up; they can observe each other on the equipment; and they start new conversations with peers on the playground structures.


What was your municipalities’ main reason for moving this project forward?

The parkland was identified as a suitable site for a community park within the Locke Subdivision Parkland Development preferred master plan, and was selected as an action item by the Culture and Recreation Committee, comprised of Vicki Ball, Judith Cox, Bill Harvey, Barb Clare-Powell, Grace Smith, Richard Weese, Steven Zeidler and Township staff Patricia Harwood.

Financial Considerations

What was the cost of the project? How was the project funded? Internally or externally? If externally, where was the support acquired (i.e., grant program, community donations, multiple methods)?

The budget for the Locke Subdivision was estimated at $60,000; with six (6) bid being received, varying from $36,947 to $86,716. The accepted bid was for $36,947 plus HST of $4,803, resulting in a total of $41,750.

Measures of Success/Impacts

How has the project helped your municipality or department achieve its sustainability goals? What specific metrics can you share about the impact it has had?

The project was also released for bidding with an environmental consideration as part of the criteria with the Township stating the following, illustrating the Township’s commitment to environmental sustainability:

‘In order to contribute to waste reduction and to increase the development and awareness of environmentally sound purchasing, acquisitions of goods and services will ensure that wherever possible, specifications are amended to provide for the expanded use of durable products, reusable products and products (including those used in services) that contain the maximum level of post-consumer waste and or recyclable/content, without significantly affecting the intended use of the products or service.’

In addition, the health and social benefits associated with the new playground connect directly to the Townships Strategic Priority in regards to ‘Community Development’, and Ideas / concepts from the review of the Recreation Master Plan will be recommended to Council f or their consideration .

Type of Case Study

☐Education and Outreach

☐Policy Adjustment or Development

☐Partnerships & Collaboration

☐Enforcements & Incentives

☒Implementation of Programs & Services

☒Facilities & Infrastructure Improvements

Website: Visit Site


1024 Hurlwood Lane
Orillia, Ontario, L3V 6H4