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Mono committee to eye plan for recreation facilities

November 18, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Town_of_Mono (1)By Tabitha Wells

The Town of Mono’s Recreation Advisory Committee will begin looking at establishing a visionary plan to highlight the direc- tion that recreation will be heading in Mono.

Originally presented as a ‘Master Plan’, the suggestion from the committee was to help provide residents and the Town clarity as to the priorities and needs of the community, and how to meet those needs.

The committee’s Resolution of Advice to Council was that “Council direct Town staff to work with the Chairman of the of the Committee to develop a Town of Mono Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and a task force comprised of two members of Council, the Director of Parks and Recreation, and three community members be struck to complete a draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan for Council’s review.

The cost associated with hiring a consultant to do the Master Plan, which was spoken of as a possibility, would be approximately $15,000, something that Council wasn’t sure was warranted.

“I have some reservations about this, and I’m not sure that the Director of Parks and Recreation has time,” said Councillor Fred Nix, who indicated he would not be voting for the motion as it stood. “It occurs to me, even in keeping in the spirit of a recreational plan, that the very people with the knowledge and experience to put this together are the people sitting on the committee.”

He added that even if the report had some holes in it, there would be a broad scope of research prepared that could shape the beginnings of a master plan.

“We wouldn’t have to take more of Kim [Perryman]’s time, and we wouldn’t have to spend the extra money to hire a consultant,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Ken McGhee was also nervous about the aspect of moving forward with a Master Plan, but it wasn’t just the suggested cost of a consultant or the additional time required from Ms. Perryman that concerned him.

“We’re still a rural community; we’re not even a medium-sized community with a larger area,” said Deputy Mayor McGhee. “I don’t know that there is a need for a comprehensive Master Plan, which would likely end up just sitting on the shelf. We don’t have a lot of dollars to spend, and we’re not getting a lot of development dollars to spend on this.”

Councillor Ralph Manktelow added that the Town has had a number of parks developed over the years, which were added for various reasons, but never have followed a specific plan for recreational development.

A member of the Recreation Advisory Committee who was present at the last Council meeting, he spoke to clarify the request, adding that they had not proposed to spend money or hire a consultant.

“I think there may be some benefit in doing it,” he said. “The benefit that might accrue from this is that it might enable everyone both on the Rec Committee and council to be on the same page as far as our goals, what we are trying to achieve, and what we are trying to support or not support. There has been a vague understanding so far, but that’s it.”

He added that having a Master Plan would see it all down on paper, so that everyone could be able to see a clear list of goals and where the Town is going.

“I see it as a chance to have a visioning exercise, and I can see it as having benefit,” said Councillor Ralph Manktelow. “I think we have enough resources in Mono to come up with this.”

It wasn’t the concept that had Mayor Laura Ryan skeptical, but rather the terminology of a Master Plan.

“Maybe if we called it a visionary planning exercise, but to actually put it down as saying it’s an official Master Plan, I’m not sure,” she said. “It reminds me of the trails network — it was a lot of money, it sits on the shelf, and we don’t see it any more. Maybe I’m just stuck on the words, but I want to support the committee and see this.”

Another concern she presented was that the recreation department is already taxed in terms of available time to work on something like this.

“If the Committee has an overwhelming desire to do a planning document, that’s great, but let’s try and keep it simplistic and keep it an open thing that won’t hamstring us down the road,” said Mayor Ryan.

All members of Council did agree that were the Recreation Advisory Committee to move forward with the development of any plan, it would need to be a living document that keeps moving as things need to be added or removed.

“I’ve been around long enough to see individual areas of recreation and parks developed in Mono, and we’ve always worked with the local communities to see what they would want and what would benefit them for that area,” said Deputy Mayor McGhee. “I think a plan needs to be reviewed all the time because it’s constantly in flux.”

A motion was tabled to move forward with a visionary plan to be developed by the Rec Committee, that would come back to Coun- cil for review in six months. The plan would not be considered a Master Plan but would function as a guideline for recreational development in Mono that could be adapted as the needs of the community change.

The motion passed unanimously.

         


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