For over two years, Keith Oliver has been campaigning for the idea that Cobourg should have an outdoor Fitness Park for seniors. He was in good form at the Council meeting on Monday night – he prefaced his talk by saying that he wanted to make a good impression so he had his semi-annual haircut for the occasion. But he has a plan: he wanted Council support to make an application for a Federal grant for $25,000 under their “New Horizons for Seniors” program – it has a submission deadline of June 21. The money would go towards the expected cost of approx. $95,000 with the balance coming from fundraising. He pointed out that the idea was included in the Waterfront master plan and also that he had a supporting petition signed by 1038 individuals.
Keith presented his idea to the June 4 Parks and Recreation advisory committee and found support there; he is now forming a 5 member “Fitness Park Working Group” to manage this project. Two others have already joined: Dave Avery and Bruce Bellaire.
Keith points to similar parks in Peterborough and Whitby and that many other Municipalities have similar facilities. The idea is that a collection of exercise equipment suitable for use by seniors outdoors would be installed in a Waterfront location.
Keith felt that it was important that the project not only provide fitness equipment for seniors but that they should be involved in making the project happen.
Council discussed the issues and some items were clarified:
- Deputy Director of Community Services Teresa Behan said that the grant application could be done by Town staff by the deadline.
- Although the grant application must be submitted by June 21, not all due diligence will be completed by then – e.g. operational costs, safety issues, liability issues, the experience of other municipalities, benefits, exact project cost, signage, exact location etc. But these can come later. The date agreed for that would be the Council’s COW meeting on October 15 which would still allow for inclusion in 2020 budget deliberations. CAO Stephen Peacock said that a grant application and even approval is not a commitment and council could still opt out if they wanted.
- Keith Oliver said that this particular grant does not require the Town to contribute but Mayor John Henderson expressed doubt that this would be true in practice.
- Adam Bureau asked about the consequences of a one year delay. Keith said that there was no guarantee that there would be another grant available next year.
- The grant application must be by a legal entity such as the Town; the Town would therefore have full control.
After the discussion, Councillor Emily Chorley moved that council make the application for the grant and follow up with other work required in time for consideration in the 2020 budget. The motion passed.
Below is the equipment Peterborough installed last year.
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