60 Pleasant Street, Bridgewater, NS, B4V 3X9
Tel: 902-543-4651 Fax: 902-543-6876

A new Open Space Network Plan for Bridgewater

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The Town of Bridgewater is initiating a planning process to develop an Open Space Network Plan (OSNP), and we want you to help us!

Town Council has recently created an Open Space Plan Advisory Committee (OSPAC) to work with Town staff to develop an Open Space Network Plan for the Town. We are looking for three residents of Bridgewater and four representatives of stakeholder organizations who are passionate about their community, healthy living and open space to sit on our Committee!

If this sounds like you, please fill in the application form and send it to Jamy-Ellen Klenavic (Planner and Plan Lead for the Open Space Network Plan) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or drop it off in the Planning Department at Town Hall (60 Pleasant Street in Bridgewater). If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with Jamy-Ellen at (902) 541-4386.

If you would like to be involved in the planning process but don’t want to sit on the OSPAC, there will be lots of opportunities to engage with the Committee and Town staff as we develop our plan together. If you would like to be on our email list, drop Jamy-Ellen a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and she will make sure you know what the Committee is up to, and how you can be involved.

OSPAC meetings will take place monthly, on Friday afternoons between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM, and will be open to the public.

TO DOWNLOAD THE OSPAC TERMS OF REFERENCE, CLICK HERE.

TO DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION TO SERVE, CLICK HERE.

What is “open space”?
“Open space” is not just parks! Our working definition of open space is “any public or private space not built upon and open to the sky.” Using this definition as a starting point will allow the planning process to include sidewalks, trails, streets, surface parking lots, plazas, parks, outdoor recreation facilities, brooks and the LaHave River as open spaces.2014 08 23 7738 Growing Green 1

The Role of Open Space in the Community
In addition to recreational and active transportation uses, public open space is critical for providing opportunities for users to socialize, both actively and passively. Open spaces that encourage sociability are most successful at drawing a wide range of users. As it turns out, the most attractive thing about an open space is other people, even if the main purpose of the space is recreation or physical activity.

Insufficient access to social activity can easily lead to loneliness and isolation, conditions not normally considered illness but that can have health consequences similar to those associated with high blood pressure, smoking and lack of exercise. Sociable open spaces that are attractive to a wide variety of users are safer, and help build so-called “social capital” by making the community more resistant to crime and other social problems, by helping residents develop an attachment to their community, and by building community pride. Residents of towns with attractive, welcoming public spaces are happier.

The Case for an Open Space Network Plan
The Town does not have a plan for how to allocate resources to the existing and future assets, even though there are at least three significant new open space projects (the new riverfront open space on King Street, Generations Active Park and Grinders Square) in development.

We also have not heard from our community. What do our residents value most about our open spaces? What are our frustrations? Are there parts of our community that are underserved for open space? Do all of our neighbourhoods have equitable access to the open spaces that they need?

Open space can mean many different things to different people – a place to play organized sports or a pick-up game of soccer, a place to enjoy an exciting play structure or a place to sit and watch the water. Some people use open spaces for exercise, but many more use them to socialize, a critical function for a healthy community. How can we support these different uses? How do we make sure no one feels squeezed out? As a community, we need to have these conversations. We need to understand our collective vision and how we get there from where we are.