Purple Hill resident questions Mono budget cuts

February 1, 2024   ·   0 Comments


Purple Hill area residents want to know if Mono council has any plans to invest in their part of town.

Bradley Mayer-Harman said area residents are frustrated with council’s decision to drop a playground renovation project from the budget.

Bradley Mayer-Harman told town council in October 2023 that he hopes to one day be able to bring his future grandchildren to a revitalized Purple Hill Park.

The 3.87 acres of grass at the park is underutilized, he said. Grass has started to grow up through the sandy area where there are swings and a play structure with slides and climbing features.

In an October letter to council, Mayer-Harman suggested residents would benefit through the installation of a concrete multi-sports pad that can be utilized in summer and winter. Parents in the park’s vicinity have already taken it upon themselves in the winter to maintain an ice rink on the grassed portion of the park.

Based on discussions last year with town staff, he said work to refurbish the park would have been in the area of $100,000.

He told council during its Jan. 30 regular meeting that area residents are disappointed with the decision to axe the investment in the park.

“There’s been an overwhelming amount of frustration that the community has felt as it relates to just allocating money to this community,” Mayer-Harman said.

People understand these are difficult financial days that bring budgetary constraints.

“We’re just wanting to know: Does the council see this as a top priority to invest in the Purple Hill community, or is this something that’s going to be put on the backburner, and there’s not really a plan to address our concerns in the future?” he said.

Mayor John Creelman said Mono will have ice rinks this year. But there’s a possibility there will be none in 2025.

“That is correct,” said Kim Heaton, the town’s recreation director.

She said the liners for rinks are bought the year before. So, the liners for 2025 are set up before Christmas 2024.

“So that the residents have them in ample amount of time for whenever the weather dictates the installing of the rinks,” she said. “The rinks are between two budget years.”

Heaton said the department had to make cuts in order to deliver a budget with the tax levy sought by council. Outdoor rinks were eliminated “because of climate change and the challenges that we’re having with all of the days that we don’t get to skate.”

Councillor Melinda Davie said Purple Hill Park will be considered again next year and in the future.

“Recreation in the Town of Mono is paramount,” she said.

Creelman said the 2024 municipal operating and capital budget discussions were particularly painful. Difficult choices had to be made.

“We worked very hard to get to the six per cent (increase) and, frankly to me, it’s a miracle that we did, given the inflationary increases,” he said. “Three-quarters of the budget is in excess of six percent.”

Mayer-Harman said the issue isn’t a matter of needing the ice rink specifically. Rather, it’s a feeling of not being heard by council.

“And not feeling like we’re important enough to the Town of Mono to get a small portion of the amount of tax dollars we contribute,” Mayer-Harman said.

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