Councillor Gillis’s statement on the parkland issue

alexStatement by Councillor Alex Gillis on Don Maynard Park and Lot 42 at Mississippi Mills Committee of Whole Meeting – October 18, 2016 

There have been three petitions received in opposition to the sale of Don Maynard Park and Lot 42.  There are two written petitions with a total of 882 entries.  The written petitions are accompanied by 44 separate and noteworthy comments on 33 additional pages.  There is also an on-line petition with 468 entries; this on line petition also includes several separate pages of comments. The overall total is 1,350 petition submissions

The petition entries are primarily from Almonte Ward, but there are a notable number from Ramsay and Pakenham Wards.   The Almonte Ward entries are clustered in the affected quadrant but there are substantial submissions from across the Ward.  The overwhelming scale of public input is very impressive and a major accomplishment.

I consider that this public response should be considered the overriding factor in making our decision in the spirit of representative democracy.  We are advised plainly that the public greatly values Don Maynard Park as a pleasant green space that defines its neighbourhood.  The public’s message of opposition is clear, especially in Almonte Ward; do not sell Don Maynard Park.

Personally, I am proud that Mississippi Mills created such a pleasant space, that now features attractive large trees and a beautiful central garden; it is, actually, a very lovely municipal asset. Notably, the adjacent properties also benefit in higher property values as well as natural beauty.

Crucially, our Canada 150 projects could be compromised due to public resentment regarding any sale of the Park.  It is best to revisit Canada 150 and to request the Treasurer to advise on alternative funding methods.

Regarding Lot 42, I find the matter of this sloped field to be quite perplexing since it is obviously used as a playground by students; yet, the Catholic District School Board does not seem to want to regularize this situation and acquire the property.

As a long serving Almonte Ward Councillor, who attended the dedication of Don Maynard Park, I will represent the overwhelming public view and will vote against selling any part of Don Maynard Park, and I hope that the Lot 42 question, eventually, will be resolved fairly.

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