Meeting set to discuss ABC Park

Heather Clemmer hopes having 108 members in her Facebook group is an indication there’s enough interest in the community to come up with great ideas how to improve ABC Park in Drayton.

Clemmer has scheduled a meeting for Sept. 11 at 8pm in the basement of the Drayton United Church to discuss the Dales Drive Park.

“I just wanted to get a crew together to get some ideas and get the fundraising going,” Clemmer said, adding she has heard complaints about the park for at least two years.

She noted topics for discussion at the meeting will include residents’ expectations, accessibility, the township’s position, support from local clubs and businesses, insurance and fundraising ideas, goals and timelines.

She explained the number one issue residents seem concerned about is safety, though accessibility is an important issue as well, especially for her family.

While some of the problems at the park will be addressed when the township replaces the equipment that was allegedly torched by three youths, Clemmer said there are also issues with the small playground, swing set and benches.

“A lot of it is just maintenance stuff, but it poses a risk for the kids playing in the park,” she said. She stressed she did not start the Facebook group or schedule the meeting to “lash out” at the municipality – she just wants to find solutions. Yet some Facebook postings on the “ABC Park Drayton” group seemed more controversial.

One member wrote, “I wonder if rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars for the downtown, we could ask our leaders in the community to focus some funding on the areas that people use for recreation.”

Another said, “When it comes to the safety of the park, the town is responsible – 100%.” Yet another called the  swings “a nightmare,” complaining they were “coming apart at the top,” and had “rusted old chains.”

At least one member did question if the park was in the state of disrepair others claimed it was, but that was the only comment that did not address the issue of safety.

“It is unfortunate this park was one of the selling features in the neighbourhood when we moved in,” said one member. “Now we don’t take our children there anymore because it is just unsafe.”

Public Works Director Larry Lynch did not return a call from the Advertiser about the park.

Councillor Jim Curry told council last week the community is trying to organize a meeting.

Mayor John Green said organizers should be sure to contact Hydro One about possible funding. The company recently contributed $5,000 towards new playground equipment at Wallace Cumming Park in Alma, and Green said Hydro One officials have expressed interest in park projects in Drayton.

Clemmer said she doesn’t have any expectations for next week’s meeting, she is just hoping a group of six to ten residents will step forward, take the lead for fundraising and “commit to following this thing through.”

Everyone is welcome at the meeting. For more information call Clemmer at 519-638-5001.