Adult Fitness Park Gets Council Support

Since November 2016, Keith Oliver has been coming before Council to campaign for an adult Fitness Park and in May 2018, the Waterfront study included Outdoor Adult Fitness as one of its goals.  Since this was approved by council, Town support seems to be mandated.  Last June, Keith won Council support for help in applying to the Federal Government for a grant and also spoke of success in fundraising from the Cobourg Community.  He was not so successful in getting support in recent budget sessions but at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on 27 January 2020, he tried again and said that Council support was needed before other donors (such as Rotary) would contribute.  This time he succeeded in getting support but not exactly per his request (see link below to video of his presentation).

Keith Oliver
Keith Oliver

Keith asked that the Town allocate $25K from the 2020 budget but if the Federal grant is approved, then that would not be needed and could be used for something else. [Photo from June Presentation]

As an action on the subject, Councillor Emily Chorley made a motion which passed and is now up for ratification at the regular Council meeting on 3 February.

WHEREAS at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on January 27, 2020, Council considered a delegation from Keith Oliver, Cobourg Fitness Park Working Group, regarding the proposed Adult Fitness Park in the Town of Cobourg;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT should the application for a $25,000 New Horizons Grant be successful, that Council:

  • Provide the Fitness Park Working Group with a letter of endorsement to aid their community fundraising efforts; and
  • authorize staff to work with the fitness Park Working Group, where appropriate, to submit additional grant applications;

AND FURTHER THAT Council consider funding up to $25,000 of the project, if needed, in the 2021 Capital Budget.

Although Council is proposing to fund from the 2021 budget, Keith said that spending must be completed by November 2020.  The idea is that an adult Fitness Park would be installed in Victoria Park, near the beach/boardwalk.  Not all Councillors are convinced that it’s a good idea (Brian Darling and Nicole Beatty voted against Emily’s Motion) so the vote on Emily’s motion will be interesting.

Links

Update – 3 February

At the regular Council meeting, with no additional debate, Council ratified the above decision with votes going the same way – only Brian Darling and Nicole Beatty voted against.  I guess they either don’t read the comments on this blog or they ignore them.

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Doug

I think they should build the adult fitness park next to the skate board park

Lynn

Why not reopen the Market building as a downtown seniors hub with exercise classes yoga and card playing as a 6 month trial we can all pay a toonie and maybe we can turn our downtown into a vital area.
The way we are headed we are killing the downtown . How about caring about our citizens instead of spending every cent encouraging tourists who come with coolers and bbqs which are supposedly banned.
Never did see much garbage around the Market building but sure saw a lot of people in the restaurants, cafes and shops.
Everything seems to go to the cc centre and Y but why can’t we do this too and have something for everyone.

Keith Oliver

To John and his addendum “Update -Feb 3rd.” The resolution you quote from Council meeting of the 3rd does not support the fitness park and the followup Fit4LifeCobourg Program. It is conditional on the grant from the New Horizons program. I’m a Delegate to the Advisory Committee on Parks and Recreation today and will present an explation of what went wrong over the last 8 months, to bring us all back to where this proposal began. The Strategic Plan created by Council to guide it through the present term includes creating and supporting
public/private partnerships to the benefit of all. This is why the working group put in well over 300 hours and 500 dollars in researching the proposal. The fitness park Project process is an example of how not to run a public/private partnership. To calm everyones’ nerves all Chorleys’ resolution says is that Council will consider including the Project in the 2021 Budget deliberations. That’s exactly the wording that got the project into the 2020 deliberations.

Ken Strauss

The Strategic Plan created by Council to guide it through the present term includes creating and supporting public/private partnerships to the benefit of all.

However, Keith, a senior fitness centre in a public park is not for the “benefit of all”. Rather it is an eyesore for the vast majority of residents and a total waste of the public’s money. If you want a fitness centre place it on private property and fund it PRIVATELY. Even private donations to charities are partially public money due to tax rebates.

Ben

Ken says “However, Keith, a senior fitness centre in a public park is not for the “benefit of all”.

Since when do we govern for the benefit of all, some of us do not play hockey, some do not use the library and some do not use the harbour!

Good governance means that some will get what they want to the exclusion of others. How we allocate those ‘goodies’ is a messy political choice usually based on whose ox is being gored or what specific special interest is being catered to. However to appease those being left out it is usual to cater to all.

Just because you either have a meanspirited point or make or you feel left out is no reason to single out a group or facility based entirely on fiscal reasons, especially when others in the Society have got theirs!

Canuck Patriot

Perhaps it’s time for Council to conduct a serious review of all special interest funding and simply say NO to those who want their leisure activities paid for by the public purse.

Ken Strauss

Ben, I was quoting Keith who claimed to be quoting Council’s Strategic Plan. Good governance or not, an adult fitness centre is not for the benefit of ALL. If it were intended to benefit everyone the word “Adult” would have been omitted.

We obviously cannot afford to indulge every resident’s whims; rejection based entirely on fiscal reasons is an excellent rationale for decisions.

Rob

No Municipal decisions are for the benefit of all. What would that look like I wonder or how would that be possible? Clearly fiscal responsibility and accountability should form the basis for good decision making but not all decisions can be solely based on dollars and cents. I think the outdoor adult fitness area is a great and progressive decision and I look forward to seeing its completion.

Ben

Ice rinks are not for the betterment of all, neither are libraries, seniors centres, soccer pitches, tennis courts and even the new fad pickle-ball. Just an amalgam of community interests. Fortunately ‘picknplay’ hasn’t come to the taxpayers menu, and we are stuck with the usual grubby political way of appeasing community interests. So from time to time we all have recreation interests funded by government. That means popular as well as unpopular choices have to be made from time to time – get used to it and live with it – the next choice may be one of yours.

Informed

If we ever run a surplus we can look at the picknplay option you speak of.

Keith Oliver

Time for everyone to settle down. An Adult Outdoor Fitness Park in Cobourg was supported by 1038 citizens who signed a petition over a 4 week period in late 2016. The response was such (only 3% declined) that we believed that such a response over such a short period of time was enough to make the point. Unlike most folks on this blog the signatures knew exactly what they were commenting on. They were shown photos of the park at Whitby and elsewere. Explained how using it would improve 12 aspects of physical fitness. We saw students involved in secondary school basketball exercising at the direction of their coach. A planed fundraising campaign would result in the Town gaining a 125,000 asset for an investment of 25,000 tax payer dollars or less. After interested citizens attended the three public meetings that lead up to the 2018 Waterfront Users Needs and Detail Plan a fitness park was included just under the top 1/3 of the 83 projects that make up the plan. This put the park well ahead of improved security and better by-law enforcement at the beach, improvements to bathrooms and changing rooms as well as better parking and vehicle… Read more »

Ken Strauss

“included just under the top 1/3 of the 83 projects that make up the plan” means that it was even less popular than a travel lift! How many of the 1038 “citizens” who signed were Cobourg residents? How many were seniors? What is the estimated maintenance cost for the “free” $125,000 asset and who will pay?

Canuck Patriot

“No one called”. Sums up the level of real public interest.

Keith Oliver

Canuck Patriot, or who ever you are, the offer to show folks the detailed 90+ page State of the Project Report on all aspects of a fitness park was made to those including yourself who participated in the blog in which the park was discussed. “No one called” refered to you, who ever you are, and the others. Everyone had an opinion but few have the facts.

Ben

I don’t understand the hullabaloo over this topic – fitness is good, equipment is good, we have tot-lots in space that is useless to developers so they donate it to the Town in lieu of cash, we have curling rinks and we have hockey emporiums, we have soccer and baseball areas. It could be said that Cobourg caters to fitness to all ages except Seniors! If Seniors don’t want to use it then they shouldn’t but why shouldn’t the Seniors that do want fitness equipment have it; after all the other demographics have it.

I would like to see Cllr Darling, who considers this a waste of time and money say the same thing to hockey parents or mom’s looking after their tots on the lots.

Just my two cents worth

JimT

…I assume this facility would be available to anyone of any age that wanted to make use of it, so that it’s not just available to a certain demographic as some commenters seem to imply.

Keith Oliver

To JimT … That is correct. The present draft plan will serve everyone over the age of 13. Because the grant program New Horizons for Seniors is just that, we broke the project into 4 parts. The base which it now appears will be mostly donated; the “passive” or seniors appropriate equipment which the New Horizons grant will cover; the more challenging or “active” equipment financed by a service club and/or the Ontario Triium Foundation; and site amenities such as benches, shading, bike racks, etc. The prefered site is next to the large grassy area just south of the Lions Pavilion where secondary school soccer and rugby teams exercise and practice. Secondary school sport coaches are about to be approached once the Towns’ committment is established. They will be canvased to find out how they might use the park equipment.

JimT

Thank you.
You have given a thorough and comprehensive factual explanation of this proposal and then get 8 (so far) down votes (?).
People trying to think with their emotions, apparently.

Ken Strauss

Keith hopes that money will come from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and then claims that his boondoggle won’t cost taxpayers. Such deliberate deceit is enough reason to reject the project based entirely on facts and without emotion. And, fortunately, now 12 down votes.

Keith Oliver

Ken, sorry if you got confused by my reference to “taxpayers” without any condition.. I thought it was clear that, like the others, I was referring to “local property tax payers”. Property tax is the most unfair and regressive tax there is. At least at tax time the Province makes an attempt to compensate the less wealthy. What the Fitness Park Working Group has proposed is that the funding be spread around instead of from one source like at Whitby, Peterborough and Port Perry. 25,000 from each of the Federal and Provincial Government, as well as from Trillium and one of the service clubs such as Rotary. A monetary donation from two of the local banks is a possibility along with in-kind donations from local business. We were making significant headway when the Town removed it’s 25,000 from their 2020 budget and people asked “so where’s the Towns’ support?”. The idea was to spread sponsorship around in what ever form, involve the wider community, and use available resources more efficiently. There are lots of good projects out there that also need these kinds of support. Remember Mike Harris downloaded a whole slew of what had been Provincial Programs onto the… Read more »

Ken Strauss

I’m sorry, Keith, but I think that it is you who is confused. There is no Santa; we are paying. Whether it comes from the Federal pocket or the Provincial pocket or the County pocket or the Cobourg pocket it is our money that is being squandered on a useless project. Please be honest without silly obfuscation!

Canuck Patriot

I’d like a free practice green and new TV. Does that mean using your justification that taxpayers should pay for it?

Get a grip on reality Ben.

Why is it that socialists always like to spend somebody else’s money rather than pay for their own stuff.

Informed

And we have the ymca…anytime fitness…ccc…numerous yoga studios etc

JimT

So many niggling negative comments on this proposal, confirming what I have been saying openly for years now: Cobourg is Ontario’s “No, You Can’t” town.

Durka

What else are you referring to?

Informed

Maybe its a “no you cant waste taxpayers money” kinda town. At least work towards that goal anyway.

Keith Oliver

JimT … If I might respond. Any form of government is often seen as slow sometimes inconsiderate of change/projects that one believes are necessary. I’ve lived in Cobourg for more than 20 years. The Council we have now is one of the best, if not the best in my experience. Can say the same of the staff. I’m less active now than in the past. I’ve lost much more than I’ve won, but Cobourgs’ doing alright. Venture 13, the Police Station taking in the homeless overnight, the financial support Council gave recently to two projects that will increase rental and affordable housing. I’m as impatient as you seem to be for positive change, but all things considered Cobourg’s on the right path.

Lynn

I find this whole subject so frustrating! A couple of years ago they had exercise classes at the market place, they were always full and usually involved coffee or lunch in our downtown. They were moved to the CC and those of us that couldn’t drive were told to take a bus. Not too long ago people who had been playing cards for years were told to go to the CC again these people used the downtown area. This building was used in rain,snow and sunshine. Everyone complained no one listened but now an outdoor playground for seniors is a good idea what’s the matter with this town????

Deborah O'Connor

Wasn’t it more of the Mayor at the time’s efforts to leave a “legacy”? Delanty had “the frink”, was this Gil’s? Oh, where is the new Jack Heenan? We need him again.

Frenchy

They’re only voting on accepting the 2020 budget tonight and now Emily wants to start spending the 2021 budget?
Hopefully more on council than just Brian and Nicole will give their heads a shake and turn this (or any other 2021 budget request) down.
Shouldn’t 2021 budget requests be dealt with in December/January and voted on then?

Frenchy

Apparently not.
Approved by 5-2 vote.

Wally Keeler

“Those funds could subsidize low income seniors to enable them acess to existing facilities including transportation and additional programs at the ccc.

Those funds could have subsidized fixing the Darcy Street railway crossing to a condition that allows the many seniors with mobility devices living south of the tracks to have safe and secure access to attend the CCC.

Frenchy

comment image
“Those funds could have subsidized fixing the Darcy Street railway crossing to a condition that allows the many seniors with mobility devices living south of the tracks to have safe and secure access to attend the CCC.”

While I think everyone would agree that that is a terrible crossing for pedestrians, cars, bicycles, mobility devices, etc., I don’t think the town should be subsidizing CN/CP for upgrades or maintenance to it. That is their responsibility, not ours. The railways and the Ministry of Transport should be petitioned for the much needed repairs, not our local Town Council.

Wally Keeler

I made the initial complaint about the absence of safety at the crossing when you and others dumping on me for bragging. Przt. In order to fix the sidewalks from south of the tracks to north of the tracks, the Town requested from CN/CP their train schedules, so that the Town could schedule the digging of this and pouring of that. In my conversations at the time with Gil and Public Works heads, Cobourg is responsible for the maintenance of the street surface between the tracks. Gil advised that CNR is much more responsive than is CPR to the public-at-large. True. The railways will take care of their rails and municipalities take care of their streets. Of course there is the option to petition one’s municipal council to do the petitioning, which I did, and because of that, the sidewalks were repaired, no thanks to you. Nevertheless, I still say that the funds allocated to the beach pad would be better spent if applied to a budget to repair and make safe, the Darcy Street railway crossing.

Canuck Patriot

Bad decision. The adult fitness park is a complete waste of money.

There is no logical reason why taxpayers should have to subsidize Mr. Oliver’s exercise routine. If he wants to stretch by the beach, he can do it on his dîme and leave the rest of us alone.

I expect to see him using it daily regardless of weather and time of year. When it sits empty is he going to repay taxpayers and donors for this colossal waste?

What was Council thinking to reverse its budget decision to reject the request? Keep it up and it won’t be long before all Cobourg residents will need affordable housing.

JimT

deleted by author…

Pamela Jackson

What happened to the old one by the County building all those years ago, the one you drove past on a daily basis and never saw a single soul using it. You see these “fitness” areas in many places when you travel,
but you never see anyone using the equipment. If Keith Oliver is so eager for exercise, let him buy his own
trampoline or mini gym to use at home for I guarantee not too many Cobourgers will be out there using the
equipment in full view of everyone. We have a lovely one where I live now, situated in the grounds of the
library and, again, never anyone on it.

Cobourg did very badly by the senior community all those years ago when it promised better facilities for
seniors in their own “space” then built a vast community centre with ice rink etc. Money for this pie in the
sky equipment would be better used to provide enhanced facilities for seniors and let Keith Oliver and Emily Chorley find their own ways to exercise.

CiW

There’s a derelict lot on the corner of James St. and Walton St., SW quadrant, where it could be located. The locals might even maintain it.

JimT

That’s a residential area. The beach is public recreational space. Adding an exercise facility there is entirely appropriate and it would be one more amenity that anyone who wants to could make good use of.

Keith Oliver

To JimT and others on this blog.
The “derilict lot” that CiW (who ever you are) refers to on the SW corner of James and Walton is part of the property I own and the house I live in. He or she knows absolutely nothing about my life, the struggles I live with and is nothing more than a “cheap shot”. This is the kind of petty, irrelevant nonsense that many on this site descend to and that threatens the good intentions and hard work John Draper puts into giving this community one of the few remaining means we have of talking to eachother. Argue the point, but stay focused, be respectful, bring more than personal opinion to the discussion.

Durka

Near the beach and boardwalk? There is already a lack of greenspace along the boardwalk. And maybe it’s just me but the last place I would want to work out at is beside a busy boardwalk with droves of people walking by staring at me.

JimT

The “greenspace” is all in Victoria Park – acres and acres of it – where it belongs. All the green space anyone could want.
The beach is for wide open areas of sunshine and sand – perfect spot for a bit of gym equipment for those of us old folk bold enough to do their stretchie-type exercises right there in public.

Informed

They wouldnt be staring at you….they would be looking your way amazed that someone is actually using it lol

Small Time Lover

Parking down by the waterfront in the summer is pretty well non existent because of the tourists so only adults who live in the downtown area could use it if they wanted to.
We have so many parks in Cobourg, most empty, utilize one of them. They all have adequate parking .

Constance Mealing

This idea is ridiculous! There are already many programs in place for adult fitness. A waste of money that could be put to better use.

Old Sailor

The morale of the story is keep hammering Council(s) with the same ridiculous unpopular request. It doesn’t matter how many times it is turned down, it only has to pass once – as the Fitness Park lobbyists have discovered. Putting this Fitness Park in Victoria Park will make a new playground for the thousands of GTA folks who flood and dominate our waterfront, at no cost to them, in the June to August period. Anywhere but Victoria Park would have been a better choice if local residents are to enjoy a Fitness Park.

Cobourg Person

Squeaky Wheel Council.

Kyle

At this rate the paved racetrack for scooters in Victoria Park is only a petition away.

perplexed

Finally some thing of interest and would be fun to watch as well

JimT

…and get them off the sidewalks at the same time, too.

Wally Keeler

Absolutely. I take mine on the streets, and the best advice is that when you do that, occupy the centre of the lane for safety. It forces cars behind you to pass out into the other lane to pass you, just like they do with a car.

Frenchy

You ride your trike down the center of the lane on King St.?

Wally Keeler

No.

Frenchy

You ride your scooter down the center of the lane on King St.?

Wally Keeler

No.

Frenchy

You’re worried about scooters getting safely across railway tracks yet your advice to others is “occupy the centre of the lane for safety. It forces cars behind you to pass out into the other lane to pass you, just like they do with a car.”
Sounds like a pretty dangerous idea to me.

Wally Keeler

I’m sure it sounds like that to you because you are incapable of imagining a situation in which it is required just for that purpose– safety.

Rational

I don’t belive it is legal in Ontario to drive mobility scooters on the roads if sidewalks are available. If necessary to use roads there are rules to follow. This is based on “googling” so I apologize if I am inaccurate.

Wally Keeler

What are the fines? Is it one-size-fits-all recommendation by the Prov? Who enforces it? Cobourg cops? OPP? RCMP? Bylaw officers? Is it illegal for a mobility scooter to be on the road after the snow plows have been through the street but the sidewalks have not been cleared? Pedestrians walk on the street in those instances. If the situation is too narrow, take over the lane until you get to a place of safety to step aside. Those inside heated cars, encapsulated by steel and glass will just have to grin and bear a low speed for the sake of safety of their fellow citizens. It’s situational.

Ken Strauss

A fitness centre will be an eyesore in our central park. Even if it is built with donations, Cobourg’s taxpayers will still have to maintain it. What a waste!

Informed

Those funds could subsidize low income seniors to enable them acess to existing facilities including transportation and additional programs at the ccc. Just because a small number of residents signed a petition doesnt mean they will use the fitness park equipment on a regular basis.

perplexed

If your concerned about LOW INCOME Seniors get your groups , Church etc to start campaigning your local MP to provide the proper increases to OAS & CPP that we have all heard about for the last 10 to 15 yrs
but have never received You paid into it Why can’t they pay it back ??

Informed

Well…im not a low income senior or a senior for that matter. Its about prudent use of local taxpayers money for the largest group of the population that i feel would benefit from our tax dollars. I would like a climbing wall. Maybe the church will get me one or should i ask council? Its also about not pandering to special interests groups that think a petition supports the use of tax dollars

Malcolm Wardman

See below

Malcolm Wardman

There is already a seniors exercise program in Victoria Park. It is the Cobbourg Lawn Bowling Club and had been there over 100 years and welcomes new members.