During the campaign, there has been a lot of conversation about the recreation facilities in Douro Dummer Township. When I launched my campaign in May, I touched on some of these concerns in my campaign speech. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to residents more about the facilities in the community.
We have several parks and playgrounds in Douro Dummer. Most have been to, or are aware of Douro Park and the Back Dam Park but there are other, lesser known parks including Daleview, Maryvale and Clintonia (all in Donwood) and the Warsaw Firehall Park as well as the Robert Johnson Eco Forest… to name a few. The parks in Donwood have been rather topical this summer as residents have become aware that much of the playground equipment in Clintonia Park is slated to be removed due to safety. As I canvassed in this neighbourhood this summer, it was plainly obvious to me that Donwood is a community in transition. Many young families are moving into the neighbourhood and although the park may have not been used as much in recent years, it is an active park now. Not to mention the nearby Arrosmith School students use the park on an amost daily basis. The thing is, when the Township underwent their Recreational Master Plan process, they mentioned that Clintonia Park was an asset, but did not address the imminent needs of replacing the playground equipment.
Residents have been writing Council and meeting with individual members of Council and only after this was a request made to have staff report back on it. That report is now available online and will be discussed at tomorrow’s Council meeting in context of the other park properties in Donwood. It appears that Council wants to dispose of the Daleview Park lands, possibly selling it to neighbouring residents as well as the former Donwood Community Centre property on County Road 4. Which may make sense to do so but in February of this year, Council decided to defer the sale of the Donwood Community Centre to the next term of Council. Now, on the eve of an election, it’s suddenly a priority.
For Clintonia Park, great things can happen when communities come together. In fact, I was one of the key volunteers to rehabilitate Warsaw Firehall Park in 2014; helping to write funding applications and flipping burgers outside the Warsaw liquor store and organizing a spaghetti supper fundraiser. There are a group of committed residents who want to do the same, and I have promised to help them.
The fact still remains, we need to move forward with the Township’s Recreation Master Plan.
This includes much-need work to our arenas. Combined, Warsaw and Douro arenas are losing $250,000 a year. It was recently announced that the proposed arena at Trent University has been put on hold due to provincial funding being pulled which in my opinion, lends an opportunity to Douro Dummer to invest in our arenas, to attract new uses and user groups to both facilities so that we are positioned to be competitive with area arenas and can reduce the annual losses. As well, investment in the arena infrastructure to modernize and update so that maintenance costs can be reduced is necessary. We don’t want to close our arenas but with continued losses it will be a decision that Council may be forced to make. Instead, I propose that we invest in these facilities so that we can minimize operational losses and be well poised to attract and welcome more uses to these two facilities.
When I launched my campaign in May I stressed the importance of following through with the action items in the Township’s Recreational Master Plan. After talking to residents throughout the community, I am still committed to this and will be looking to move forward with it soon after being elected. Our recreation facilities provide an important role in the community so people can gather, meet and be active. Our recreation facilities are part of our traditions, it helps define who we are as a community. We need to welcome progress and invest in these facilities so residents can continue to enjoy what the community has to offer.
A vote for me as your Douro Ward Councillor is a vote for investment in our recreation facilities. Voting is open, please, vote. Learn more about how to vote by clicking this link.