I hope that this submission helps people understand that there is a very reasonable alternative to selling Don Maynard Park.
I will start with an alternate approach to addressing the $300,000 shortfall in the Gemmill Park Project required revenues that the Mayor, Councillors and staff have made very clear is the driving force to sell Don Maynard Park. Parkland can be saved and the project financed through:
- 2016 Gemmill Park Budget Transferred to Reserves: $125,000
- Almonte Skatepark Volunteers Fundraising: $100,000
- Almonte Skatepark Existing Budget Reserve: $30,000
- 2017 Extra From Reserves: $45,000
Notes to This Proposal:
- There was $200,000 budgeted for Gemmill Park “Master Plan Work” in 2016. I estimate that the site preparation work and Lashley & Associates design work will total $75,000 in 2016. This leaves $ 125,000 that should be reserved to 2017 and drawn on for the 2017 expenditure.
- The Skatepark Volunteers have already done an amazing job of raising in excess of $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations. The Municipality likely cannot consider the “in-kind” donation of materials, equipment and labour valued at $30,000 as a revenue source for accounting purposes, but they can reduce the budgeted expenditures and achieve the same net result.
- There is an existing dedicated Skatepark Reserve of $30,000 carried forward from 2014 that can be applied to the 2017 expenditure.
- My estimated remaining unfunded amount for the 2017 budget is only $45,000. There is plenty of room in the $6.8 million Reserves to allocate to Gemmill Park.
I really give credit to the Canada 150/Gemmill Park Working Group for their insight into money-saving measures during the meeting on Wednesday, December 14. I believe that if the project proceeds, the Working Group will easily find savings of at least the extra $45,000 that I have indicated is needed to be drawn from reserves in 2017.
This takes care of the finances.
Now, what to do with Don Maynard Park and Block 42 to improve the lands with little or no cost to the taxpayers of Mississippi Mills?
The plans shown on this page are the original plans that Allan Goddard prepared for the Mississippi Mills Council in February, 2002. This was before the park was dedicated to my dad by the same council, so it is referred to as “Block 41” on the plans. The plans will need revising, but they are a great starting point.
There will be meetings held with the residents of the area (and anybody else interested) to get their visions for Don Maynard Park. The final design decision will not be made by a select few; it will be what a majority wants. Perhaps the existing plans will be completely changed, perhaps just benches or a small play area will be added. It is up to the people who come forward with ideas.
Many of us have approached business and private people discussing the possibility for cash and in-kind donations and there has been a great interest to help. The improvements may take a few years but they will be accomplished with little or no funding from the Municipality (of course, any help will be gratefully accepted!)
As for Block 42, I think it could serve different purposes other than a conventional park. It would be very expensive to make this barren and very sloped land into a conventional green space. Some of the land could be used by “The Neighbourhood Tomato Community Gardens”. Perhaps the kids at Holy Name of Mary could help with weeding and other maintenance. The teachers there had plans for a butterfly flower garden for educational purposes and I believe they have raised funds for this. It would fit in nicely with the Community Gardens. Perhaps a small off-leash dog park could be added. Many more ideas will be proposed. Again, I believe that all of these ideas could be accomplished by donations.
I hope that these alternatives are given fair consideration by the Municipality. When asked by Councillors Watters, Councillor Edwards said that these types of proposals would be considered at the Public Information Centre about the future of Don Maynard Park. There are several of us starting to get a presentation prepared. Hopefully the public sees value in the proposal.