A long-term plan for capital expenses in the Town of St. Marys, included as part of this year’s proposed budget, includes expenses in 2014 of $100,000 for playground equipment and $150,000 for a “pavilion” at Cadzow Park. But those expenses aren’t sure things and, for now, the closest the Town will get to making changes at the Park Street green space will be a planned Open House” on Wednesday, April 24, on site at Cadzow.
At a Public Meeting about the proposed budget on Tuesday, April 2 at the Pyramid Centre, Councillor Stephen McCotter cautioned that any capital plan expenses beyond 2013 – including those cited for Cadzow – are not up for approval when Council votes, most likely later this month. Instead, the rest of the long-term capital plan is just that: a “plan” that Council has not had the opportunity to approve.
No capital expenses are listed for Cadzow in the proposed 2013 budget. And, as for operating expenses, Recreation Department Manager Stephanie Ische responded to a question at the April 2 meeting by stating that the document maintains the status quo for the coming summer on staffing levels and opening hours at all three St. Marys swimming facilities.
Still, it’s no secret that Council could be faced with a decision in the near future about the closure of the Cadzow swimming pool. Indeed, a decision to close the facility was made over a year ago, but was reversed later in the spring of 2012 due to a revelation that the Town could be forced to repay grant money received to upgrade the facility a few years ago.
Last year’s closure decision arose from a recommendation contained in a report from what was known as the Mayor’s Task Force on Recreation, which included several citizen members. Cadzow’s immediate closure was not the preferred recommendation of the Task Force; its preference was a temporary closure of the Pyramid Centre pool until debt could be paid off on the new indoor facility, followed by the eventual closure of Cadzow.
But a split Council, instead, favoured the Task Force’s “option 2” recommendation: Immediate closure of Cadzow. After significant public backlash, however, even that decision was scuttled.
At the April 2 Public Meeting, resident Gary Austin queried Mayor Steve Grose about the Task Force’s recommendation. In his response, Grose didn’t hide his disappointment that – as the mayor admitted – “we’ve accomplished very little” of what the group suggested.
He added, however, that “it’s still an ongoing project.” He also reiterated his belief that the Task Force approach can be an effective way to tackle challenging questions.
The April 24 Open House, meanwhile, is being promoted as a “Cadzow Park Re-visioning” session, at which ideas are invited “for the long term vision” of the facility. The open house will be held rain or shine at the 217 Park Street property, from 3-7 p.m. Those unable to attend can still participate, by providing their comments to Development and Facilities Manager Grant Brouwer at 519-284-2340, ext. 215 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Ische at 519-284-2340, ext. 624 or email@example.com.