“Family picnic facilities” was the most prevalent common theme as the Town of St. Marys hosted a chilly, sometimes snowy on-site Open House on Wednesday, April 25 about the future of Cadzow Park.
“We got some good opinions so far. And people are emailing us, which is great,” explained Chief Building Official Grant Brouwer, who is currently leading a process of public consultation about the future of two parks: Cadzow and Milt Dunnell Field (The Flats).
The drop-in Open House about Milt Dunnell Field is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 from 10 a.m. to noon and 3-7 p.m.
For last Wednesday’s Cadzow Park session, Town staff were stationed beneath a sun-shading tent next to the former Friendship Centre/Youth Centre building. But when the snow started swirling, the doors to the building — currently unused, since housing a Christian kids’ camp for a few weeks last summer — were opened to provide shelter from the cold wind.
According to Brouwer, less than 20 people braved the elements to drop in and offer their thoughts on Cadzow’s future. And improved family picnic facilities were mentioned by almost all of those who attended.
Playground equipment was also on the minds of several people. So was the unused building — which Brouwer commented is not likely to be used in the short term due to its “poor general condition.”
The Chief Building Official noted the Cadzow Open House was organized at the urging of Town Council, who came under considerable public scrutiny approximately a year ago when they first voted to close the swimming pool, then reversed that decision in time for a June opening.
And he admitted there was some discussion about the pool during last Wednesday’s Open House. But, in general, people simply wanted to know about the short-term plans. And he was ready with a response.
“It’s in the budget to be opened this year. That’s where we stand,” Brouwer told the Journal Argus. “Unless there’s an issue with it, it’s going to be business as usual.”
In contrast to the Council-driven Cadzow consultation, the upcoming Milt Dunnell Field Open House was organized in response to recent discussion around the town’s Economic Development Committee meeting table. Brouwer says the committee sees the park as a possible contributor to economic activity in town during the warmer months.
Asked about a recent Letter to the Editor from a representative of a men’s recreational ball league, Brouwer said there has never been any decision by the Town to remove the two ball diamonds on The Flats. The removal has been discussed, he admitted, but so have various other scenarios.
He stressed the best thing is to come to the May 15 Open House and offer your opinions.
“That’s what’s great about this kind of meeting. You get everybody’s input. There’s no agenda,” Brouwer said. “We just get to hear what everybody thinks would be the best thing for the parks.”
He expects reports will be drafted by Town staff as a result of both Open House events, and delivered to Council for its June 4 Committee of the Whole meeting.