Garisto makes renewed plea for local bocce ball courts

July 19, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Nick Garisto isn’t taking no for an answer in his quest to bring bocce ball courts to Orangeville.

The former town councillor, and one-term deputy mayor, was asked to leave the council chambers during Monday night’s Council meeting  after launching into a tirade that went as far as to suggest the municipality wasn’t supporting his bocce ball project simply because he was the one bringing it forward.

“I’ll make it fairly swift, I was here a couple of weeks ago (to ask Council to approve the construction of bocce ball courts in town) and a motion was moved to send this request over for consideration in the next community Recreation Master Plan,” Mr. Garisto said. “I want you to reconsider that motion.”

Mr. Garisto’s proposal would see three courts, of different sizes, built at Rotary Park. The sport, he says, has grown in popularity over the years, with a steady player-base in Orangeville. The project, he says, would not cost the Town a penny, with three local donors stepping in to pay for development of the courts.

On Monday, Mr. Garisto pointed to a recreational plan the Town drafted in 2015 as proof that there is a local demand for bocce ball courts.

“It states right in that plan that we should have bocce ball courts in Orangeville,” Mr. Garisto later told the Citizen. “It states ‘the Town should consider new types of facilities, such as pickleball courts, bocce courts, lawn bowling greens, cricket pitches. … I understand what the previous motion Council made does, I’m saying this doesn’t need to go to this new Recreational Master Plan, because it’s already right here in the last one.”

Mr. Garisto said the local businesses who are on board with paying for this project were “quite upset” when they learned Council had denied the request to start construction on June 24, and may pull their support altogether if the project isn’t approved soon.

Having heard enough, Coun. Todd Taylor, who was absent from that June 24 meeting, said he stands by the decision made by his fellow members of Council. 

“We have a process in place. We’ve asked staff to provide a report on what recreation should be. To that end, I make a motion that we receive this report (from Mr. Garisto) and simply move on,” Coun. Taylor stated.

Chaos ensued almost instantly, with Mr. Garisto labelling Coun. Taylor’s motion and comments “nonsense”, before rounding on all of Council for what he perceived to be a lack of conviction in making decisions for themselves. 

“This Council seems to go (to) consultant after consultant for any decision. This doesn’t cost you any money, why would you deny it? Is it because it’s Nick Garisto here asking you to proceed with this? I find it very disrespectful,” he said.

Mayor Sandy Brown stepped in, expressing his belief that the fact Mr. Garisto felt the need to bring this issue up at a second consecutive Council meeting was disrespectful in its own right. After a brief back and forth, Mayor Brown asked the Clerk to cut off Mr. Garisto’s microphone. Still, despite no longer being officially recognized by Council, Mr. Garisto demanded a recorded vote on Coun. Taylor’s motion, something Mayor Brown stated, categorically, would not be happening.

“We dealt with your issue at the last Council meeting. We were kind to give you another delegation to talk about thus. There is no appetite here to change what happened. Thank you for your time today. Would you please leave? We’re done with your item, sir,” Mayor Brown stated.

The potential development and placement of bocce ball courts in Orangeville will be addressed in the Town’s new Recreational Master Plan, which Ray Osmond, General Manager of Community Services, states will be ready by Spring 2020.

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