Project Site Selection for Mixed Use Athletic Facility - University Western Ontario
Using the skills acquired in The University of Western Ontario’s advanced GIS course (GEO 3222) taught by Professor Jinfei Wang, we found the most effective location for a new mixed-use athletic facility in the City of St. Catharines Ontario. All of our research was be powered by open data from Niagara Open Data, Census Canada 2016, and literature from the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation Sports and Fitness Division as well as the City of St. Catharines recreation master plan.
Through prior knowledge, it was noted that the City of St. Catharines has one of the highest obesity rates in Canada. This is indeed true; since 1998 the City of St. Catharines has had one of the highest obesity rates in Canada, and in 2006 St. Catharines had the fourth highest obesity rate of all urban centres in Canada with a rate of 69.3% (Shields & Tjepkema, 2006). After acquiring this knowledge, we thought that there might be a need for an athletic facility within the City to help bring down this high obesity rate.
Additionally, to perform this research it was realized that we would have to have access to readily available Open Data. Fortunately, the Niagara region has an industry standard Open Data website (http://niagaraopendata.ca). The data available on this website made our analysis possible.
Finally, the City of St. Catharines has completed extensive research in their July 2015 Recreation Facility & Programming Master Plan. The information in this document gave us further insight on how to select our parameters, and which types of facilities to include in the mixed-use building. In the master plan it is stated that “recreation facilities and programs provide St. Catharines’ residents with numerous physical, health, psychological, economic, and environmental benefits. Not only does participation in recreation offer opportunities for a healthy lifestyle, it also facilitates greater cognitive development and self-esteem among individuals, social interaction, economic spending, conservation of natural lands, and community Vibrancy” (Recreation Facility and Programming Master Plan, 2015). St. Catharines values the importance of providing sufficient athletic facilities for its citizens, but is also wary about spending too much money. Our idea of combining facilities into one mixed use building will help serve both of these needs. The master plan helps us in our analysis because the document includes details on previous projects completed in the area, current facilities with their service areas, and recommendations based on the extensive research performed and comparisons to other urban centres in Ontario. This information was invaluable to us in selecting the types of facilities we want included in our new building.