CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council received the final draft of the new 10-year Recreation Master Plan at their meeting on Monday, April 26.
The plan provides 70 recommendations to serve as a guide for the city in developing recreation amenities over the next decade.
The plan was prepared by the city’s Parks and Recreation department with help from Monteith Brown Planning Consultants (MBPC).
The plan also received a high amount of public feedback, with a survey put out by the city receiving 1,500 responses, which was deemed as being high by Steve Langois of MBPC.
Some members of Council praised some of the ideas brought forward in the report, including a new pickleball complex, replacing the skate park, and reconstituting the Recreation Advisory Committee
Some areas of concern included recommendations to move the football field at Joe St. Denis field and the ball diamonds at Legion Park to the Benson Centre.
“I have some concerns about potential moving those. I’d like to hear more from those groups on that. I know there’s some discussion, at least among the baseball community that are against moving them,” said Councillor Justin Towndale. “We don’t own land around the Benson Centre, so we’d have to purchase land, create the new fields, etc. When we already have land that’s leased and existing infrastructure in place. For the football field, there’s something similar, we already own that land. We’d also be moving everything to the west end of town, where these facilities are, for example they’re more in the centre of town, and I think that raises an accessibility question. I don’t like stacking everything in one location, that’s just me. I think that creates access issues in some cases.”
Langois responded that further consultation with those groups should be pursued.
“Broadly, in terms of any sports field changes, the plan recommends further consultation. It does take a village to make these proposals successful,” he said.
Dean Hollingsworth was the only Councillor to vote against accepting the new Master Plan specifically because of the recommendations regarding Joe St. Denis field.
“They didn’t strike me as excited,” commented Hollingsworth, referring to conversations he’s had with club members that use the field. “That being said, I’m not completely enamoured with the plan vis-a-vis the football fields.”
Hollingsworth also wanted to see more support for basketball.
“My little experience with the basketball folks is that the schools always put school events before community events and rightfully so, they’re schools first. So it becomes challenging to run a program when you are stick handling around what a school wants to do,” he said. “So to suggest we’re not going to worry about a gym because we have schools, that’s not really how it works in my experience.”