“Open space is defined as land or water that is accessible to the public and promotes sociability, leisure, connectivity, recreation, or conservation, and that shapes the urban form in Bridgewater."
Bridgewater’s open spaces are one of its greatest assets. They provide residents and visitors various opportunities to rest, relax, and be active outdoors. They connect people to public life and facilitate opportunities for better overall physical, social, and emotional health – building a better Bridgewater today and tomorrow. Undeniably, open spaces are an integral component of sustainable community growth.
In 2014, Council recognized this importance, and that open space improvement was needed to meet the community’s recreational and leisure needs. Therefore, within Section 18 (Future Municipal Projects & Studies) of the Municipal Planning Strategy, Council endorsed the addition of subsection 18.3 Open Space Master Plan.
The Open Space Master Plan or Open Space Plan (OSP) was completed and approved by Bridgewater Town Concil on November 22, 2021. The intent for the OSP was to establish a long-term “big picture” planning and management strategy for Bridgewater’s open spaces. At the heart of this “big picture” were three key issues: (1) Quality of Existing Open Spaces, (2) Planned Growth, and (3) Integration & Connectivity. A fourth (4) issue, Planning for Climate Change, was also added to reflect the climate emergency. Framed by these issues, plan development was guided by various stakeholder contributions and a robust community engagement process that identified key themes, attention areas, and activities.
In total, this Plan proposes 14 open space classifications broken down into three categories: (1) Green Spaces, (2) Trails, and (3) Parks. These new classifications are intended to inform park improvement and address evolving community needs more accurately (e.g., physical accessibility, spatial distribution, etc.).
Based on these proposed classifications and following an open space cataloguing process, analysis was conducted to help further direct this Plan’s actions. Spatial analysis was performed to locate open spaces, identify service gaps, and calculate various environmental impacts.
The Plan also references plans and programs complementary to open space creation, maintenance, and protection. These plans and programs include the Bridgewater Active Transportation (AT) Plan, the Recreation 2.0 Initiative, the Municipal Climate Change Action Plan (MCCAP), the Town Infrastructure Master Plan (TIMP), and the Town’s existing policy and regulatory framework.
The Plan concludes in a series of actions that support sustainable open space development in Bridgewater. The actions outlined in this Plan include recommendations for a(n): (1) Parks Improvement Plan, (2) Playground Enhancement Program, (3) Policy and By-law Amendments, (4) Placemaking Plan, (5) Land Assembly Strategy, (6) Integrated Active Transportation and Trail Maintenance Program, (7) Street Tree Management Plan, (8) Explore Bridgewater/Open Space Promotion Planning Process, (9) Generations’ Active Park (GAP) Concept Plan Implementation, (10) Future Recreation Amenities, (11) Corporate Identity Guidelines and Signage Program. Together, these 11 core actions combine to set a long-term planning foundation for Bridgewater’s open spaces.
Click here to download a complete copy of the Open Space Plan (2021)
Click here to view the engagement outcomes report
Click here to download the Open Space Plan Map