Published July 20, 2016
By Sarah Desforges
The Township of Ear Falls is looking for input aimed at updating community parks and playground structures. Announcing the initiative at the Regular Council Meeting on July 6, municipal officials say the plan to renovate and enhance the parks, recreation areas and the rec centre has been in the works for a couple of years and is now ready to be unveiled.
“Recreation has always been important to me,” said Mayor Kevin Kahoot after the meeting. “It is the fabric of a community.”
Kahoot says the first step will be erecting a community garden has been fully funded by the government and he hopes will be functional for next year’s growing season. The garden will include a fenced in area and raised beds to start growing a local food supply. The Mayor also says he hopes to include a mentorship program in the gardens, to connect youth and seniors through gardening.
Another project starting this year is the Waterfront Park revamp. The plans are to improve the swimming dock, as well as enhance the horseshoe pit and beach volleyball court. The hope is to make the beach a more family friendly stop for events like Canada Day and Trout Forest Music Festival.
Both of the parks in town are slated for a revamp as well. The draft plan indicates Lions Park will become more of a younger children’s play area; with smaller swings, a covered sandbox and a play structure targeted for young kids. The Calvin Fulford Park will become a full multiuse center, fit for young adults as well as families and seniors. The plan proposes to replace climbing structure with a different one, to build in a skate and/or Bike Park, a bocce ball court and a splash pad.
“The water and everything is already there.” says Kahoot, who also hopes to use the splash pad as an ice rink in the winter.
The plan is to enhance one ball diamond for playing baseball and turn the other one into a fenced in dog park. A fire pit and bbq area would also be included to create a family centred activity area. The sliding hill located behind the ball diamond would be lit better and made safer.
The golf course has also been included in the plan by potentially adding a driving range to incorporate a younger age demographic into golfing. Kahoot hopes to partner with the school board to use the golf course as part of the school physical education curriculum.
Canada 150 funding has been secured to upgrade the front of the building and further features can be included to the inside of the building such as renovated floors and a basketball court through Kinfit/Retrofit.
Mayor Kahoot says the largest part of getting the plan off the ground is to ensure that most of it will be funded through various grants, and will have minimal effect on the local taxpayers. A special meeting will be held on August 8 at 6:00 p.m. to gather feedback and suggestions from community members to further develop the plan.
Editors Note: An earlier version misprinted the date of the public meeting as Aug. 6. The date has been corrected.