Council supports call for action on much needed recreation funds

Councillors here are ready to support actions to get more funds for local recreation infrastructure.

That was made clear as councillors recently reviewed Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) correspondence asking for municipal support to ad­dress the financial implications of aging rec­reation facilities across the province.

The organization stressed that it was not suggesting recreation is more important than other issues, but that it re­mains an important part of municipalities.

Additional information from the letter stated:

– Ontarians need to become more physically active in order to counteract the “obesity epidemic”;

– Ontarians need to access quality recreation facilities in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle;

– Ontario’s sport, recreation, and parks infrastructure is in a state of physical decline. The vast majority of publically own­ed recreation facilities were built between 1956 and 1980, and are nearing the end of their useful life;

– a total of 424 major facilities in 255 different municipalities are at, or beyond their useful life and likely candidates for imminent capital rehabilitation with an estimated price tag of $5-billion;

• The PRO recognizes the municipalities are faced with many infrastructure challenges an difficult decisions must be made. It also recognizes that programs such as the recent Muni­cipal Infrastructure In­vestment Initiative do not meet the needs of municipalities because the funding is not ongoing, the deadlines are short, and the criteria for construction-ready projects can be problematic from a timing perspective.

As Minto prepared its own resolution, councillor Barb Bur­rows said “We are all aware of the situation throughout On­tario.” She said one has only to look within Minto to know what other areas are go­ing through.

Minto’s recreation facilities are close to the end of their useful life span and cost more in repairs each year, Burrows said.

Recreation Director David Stonley added that the plan seeking additional funding dove­tails nicely with Minto’s strategic plans to become a healthier community.