Sensory Garden approved for Huntsville’s Riverside Park
Huntsville Council authorized the installation of a sensory garden at Riverside Park, in the February 27, 2023, meeting.
Staff have been directed to develop an agreement with the Rotary Club of North Muskoka for the installation and maintenance of the new garden. They will also discuss responsibility for damage, theft, vandalism and replacing the boxes.
The Club will fund and complete the garden, including design, ground preparation, laying a wheelchair path beginning at the east side and ending in a turnaround loop, five sensory garden boxes at wheelchair height at the Riverside portion of the path, plants, a barefoot sensory path with various textures, and other items, such as wind chimes.
There are currently small garden spaces, picnic tables and a garbage container in the area during the summer months. However, there is not a maintained walking trail.
The garden aligns with the Town’s Development Standards that includes a commitment to accessibility and inclusiveness, and states: “…considerations of sensory gardens and other similar integrated design elements are encouraged to provide a complete and inclusive park experience for all potential visitors.”
The goal of the garden is to provide a peaceful and meditative space that people can visit that will help reduce stress and support mental health.
Staff will work with the Club to complete the installation of the garden.
The Club seeks the help of the Town with watering the plants in the beginning, until plants are matured. They indicate the area will provide less maintenance for the Town otherwise with less mowing required.
Director of Operations, Tarmo Uukkivi, advised Council that helping with the plants won’t require extra staff time, given that it’s along the normal watering route anyway.
Councillor, Scott Morrison, suggested that the sensory aspect of the garden “ties into the mental health initiatives.”
Councillor, Dione Schumacher, expressed the garden “brings something to a community and I’m excited for the opportunity.”