RECREATION IN WARD 5
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You can tell a lot about a community by
looking at the condition of the recreational facilities that are
available for local residents. To be sure, we have a lot of
wonderful recreational options in Valley East and the entire
Ward 5. Our arenas, ball fields, and soccer fields are usually
the focal points for recreation, but for me, the most important
places of all are the local neighbourhood playgrounds that for
the most part are run by volunteers.
As one drives around the neighbourhoods of Valley East,
and in particular, the portion of the Valley and Sudbury that
constitutes Ward 5,
it becomes quickly apparent that our playgrounds are in need of
Old timers like myself will recall the time when playgrounds
were actually like little “community centers” for
During the summer there were programs for the children. During
the winter, the clubhouse was open every day, all day, and the
rinks were well maintained.
Those were the days when public funding for recreation programs
was readily available. Not only did the municipal employees
maintain the grounds, but the facilities and equipment was
something that you could be proud of.
Indeed, even staffing of the playgrounds was guaranteed.
Today, neighbourhood playground associations are struggling in
an uphill battle to build any kind of community spirit.
Admittedly, there is a problem finding volunteers willing to put
in the hours to operate these facilities and programs.
However, the question to be asked is, “Should residents be
responsible for local playgrounds, or should this be something
that you receive for your tax dollars?”
I am of the opinion that a well-maintained, well-equipped,
fully-staffed playground is a service that should be provided by
the municipality for the local residents. An annual budget of
$50,000 per playground would go a long way to providing each
neighbourhood with an attractive, safe recreational facility
that they can walk to with their children. Keeping the grass
cut, the rink boards up, the basketball nets in good shape, and
the clubhouse painted and clean would make the playground the
"jewel" of the neighbourhood - not the eyesore or hangout.
Imagine how it would look to outsiders to take a tour around the
region and see vibrant, well-maintained, well-equipped
playgrounds in every major subdivision. One can only imagine.
During this election period, it is expected that there will be a
lot of discussion about the state of our recreation facilities.
Instead of spending millions of dollars building one huge
facility, many taxpayers would like to see the money spread
around to the local playgrounds.
If I am elected to represent Ward 5 I will be doing everything I
can to make sure that our playgrounds get the funding necessary
to turn them into "community centres". We have the money. We
just have to establish the right priorities.
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