A last minute presentation by Keith Oliver at last night’s regular Council meeting seems to have caused a revision in the motion passed by Council. Instead of the location being the Cobourg Community Centre, it is now not yet decided and once again has been referred to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) where they will consider information provided by Keith in a presentation. The motion that was passed allows equipment to be ordered so that the grant is not lost (It requires money to be spent by March 31, 2022). But Keith was also not happy with the choice of equipment – he said some was not suitable for seniors – but this issue was not even discussed by Council and it’s too late now to change the choices.
In the lengthy debate, the rationale for choosing the CCC over Victoria Park was discussed. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee decided on location based on a document from Staff that listed Pros and Cons for five locations: Victoria Beach, CCC grounds, Peace Park, Peter Delanty Park and New Amherst Park. But the Committee did not consult Keith’s Working Group and he’s hoping to change their mind by presenting to them.
In the Council debate, it was clear that the big advantage of the CCC location was the proximity to staff who could provide programming, much like the current yoga program for seniors.
Here is the table provided by Staff showing Pros and Cons:
|Victoria Beach||Great Scenery||Would have to be closed during gatherings|
|Accessible location for the public (close to walking trail)||Harder for staff to access to provide programming or support|
|Very noticeable; Intriguing spot on the Waterfront trail||No staff monitoring – children could view it as a playground or adults could use equipment improperly; increasing chance of injury to the public|
|Washrooms In Park||No staff monitoring/cameras during off hours|
|CCC Grounds||Accessible location||Not as noticeable location|
|Easier Parking, More parking close by||Not on the Waterfront trail|
|Increased opportunity for programming; have staff at CCC||Location requires more seniors to get transportation to get there; not as close of a walk to local seniors’ residences|
|Opportunity to be used during Seniors Activity Centre classes|
|Security cameras on the CCC building allow for monitoring in off hours|
|Peace Park||Accessible location||No staff monitoring|
|Parking||Harder for staff to provide regular programming|
|On the Waterfront trail, but not as noticeable a location||Not a high traffic park|
|Not a high traffic Park||No washrooms|
|Can remain open all year round; no affect from festivals||Park is wet and poor drainage|
|Peter Delanty Park||Parking Lot||No staff monitoring|
|Other complementary amenities; Tennis, Ball Diamond, Child Playground.||Harder for staff to provide regular programming|
|New Amherst Park (London Sf/Charles Wilson Parkway)||Other complementary amenities; Child Playground, walking trail, benches||No staff monitoring|
|Accessible location||Harder for staff to provide regular programming|
|Can remain open all year round; no affect from festivals or events||No Washrooms|
|Not a high traffic park|
Two amendments that specified location (CCC and then Victoria Park) were defeated 4-3 but a third that required the PRAC to discuss the location with the Fitness Park Working Group was passed as was the final motion giving the go-ahead to buy equipment per the RFP. The vote was 4-3 with Emily Chorley, Aaron Burchat, John Henderson and Suzanne Séguin in favour. That is, these councillors wanted the location to be further discussed with PRAC but were happy to order equipment per the RFP now. The others seemed to want an immediate decision with Adam Bureau coming out in favour of the Victoria Park Location.
Update from Keith Oliver – 13 October
As a result of the motion passed, Keith has today emailed Councillors and included the following statement:
The recommendation by the FPWG was that Council defer its decision to a later date allowing enough time for Community Services to work with the FPWG to find better more suitable equipment for use by seniors based on our experience, and to leave the choice of a location to a later date. The Town had 5.5 months before the Federal Grant expires.
The debate by Council quickly drifted off track and became focused on location only and not the equipment. The proposed motion was amended to include the CCC and the full motion passed.
The clear intent of the Federal New Horizons for Seniors Grant Program and the $25,000 the Town was awarded was that the park be to the benefit of seniors. The “Leg Press” we found to be poorly designed. The “Air Walker” had safety issues. The “Challenge Circuit” was of little use to most seniors. The only acceptable piece was the “Accessible Hand Bike”.
Another issue ignored by Council was the surface of the park which is to be Engineered Wood Chips which wheelchairs find difficult to navigate and causes the surface below equipment to lower to the point where I found it very difficult to be seated on two pieces at the new Port Hope installation.
In our opinion Cobourg will now have a poorly equipped installation, at the wrong location on an inappropriate surface.
Based on last night’s Council decision and several phone calls this morning, the additional $25,000 donation from private sources has been cancelled and my request for Delegate Status before the November meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee where I had hoped to apply the 10 criteria for site location used by the FPWG, has been withdrawn.
The FPWG will now look forward to other opportunities to create a well designed, well supplied and properly located Adult Outdoor Fitness Park at Cobourg’s wonderful waterfront.
As a minimum, it does not reflect well on communication by Town Staff and Councillors with the initiators of this project. It seems to be too late to salvage it.
- Update on Adult Fitness Park – 3 October 2021
- Staff Report on award of Contract for the outdoor adult fitness park
- Adult Fitness Park gets Council support – 2 February 2020
- Keith Oliver wins support for outdoor fitness park – 11 June 2019