Public has its say for future Recreation Master Plan
by Tiffany Wilson
June 9, 2016
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It was the first of many opportunities for Saugeen Shores residents to have their say, as a way to guide the development of a Recreation Master Plan, at the Launch Event held Monday (June 6) evening at the Rotary Hall at The Plex in Port Elgin.
More than 100 people gathered at the consultant-run workshop to express their needs, wants and desires for the current and future of recreation indoor and outdoor facilities and programs in Saugeen Shores over the next 10 to 15 years.
President Monteith Brown Planning Consultants
“The purpose of tonight’s launch event is really to help identify community needs, preferences and ideas…it’s an information sharing process,” Todd Brown, President of Monteith Brown Planning Consultants said to the attentive crowd, adding however, they are not trying to create a consensus, but rather create good discussion in hopes of generating a range of ideas and options.
“People have invested interest in their municipality, particularly people are passionate about their recreation and their leisure time, so this is a great opportunity to have a say on what they want to see and where they want to go,” added Jayne Jagelewski, Director of Community Services for the Town of Saugeen Shores.
The Recreation Master Plan is being done in a three phase process.
Phase one is currently underway and includes “looking at background material, collecting data on the community, understanding previous recommendations or polices existing regarding recreation, looking at the population of projection and demographic information, looking at trends that are broadly across the country, the province and then looking at more specifically the region and then the town,” said Brown.
He also stressed that throughout this phase “community engagement is a key piece to the puzzle.”
That said, there has been “great success” with the online survey, having 780 completed in the first few days of being active compared to the expected 50. The community is encouraged to complete the survey that can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/SSRECPLAN and will be available until June 30, 2016.
During the workshop, each table was asked to discuss, record and present answers to four questions:
1) What are the best things about parks and recreation facilities, programs and services in Saugeen Shores?
2) How can indoor recreation facilities be improved in Saugeen Shores?
3) How can outdoor recreation facilities be improved in Saugeen Shores?
4) How can recreation programs be improved in Saugeen Shores?
“There are an incredible range of services and programs for many ages at a good price,” said Port Elgin resident Kevin Larson on behalf of the table and their answer to the first question.
Other opinions included the relationship between volunteers, services clubs and the municipality in order to provide the current services and programs.
Responses for question two ranged from the improvement of cleanliness of facilities, affordability of programs, to the development of a multiplex that will incorporate an array of activities for every age, especially an indoor walking track.
When answering question three, Southampton
resident Sunny Cushnie said their table had the impression there was
already an outdoor recreation facilities concept.
Port Elgin resident and mom of three, Kim Schmitt also said there should be the addition of more natural play grounds… “utilizing all the natural things we have in the community and provide more shade aspects, that way people can feel like they can participate in an activity without being fully exposed to the sun.”
Lights at soccer fields, splash pads,
swimming docks, social spaces, tennis courts and basketball courts
were just a few other ideas for outdoor facility improvements.
“I think a lot of what we have heard,
is that we are looking at all different age groups, different
abilities and looking at partnerships. It is all very good and
helpful to us,” said Brown.
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Thursday, June 09, 2016