By David Judd
Here’s something different.
County councillors talked about recreation for nearly an hour last week and John Wells said nothing.
Consultant Fred Galloway asked councillors what they thought are priorities for parks, trails, facilities and recreation today and in the future.
Mayor Dennis Travale and seven of eight councillors voiced their opinions.
But not Port Dover Coun. John Wells.
“What’s the point of talking if you have nothing to say?” Coun. Wells said in an interview the next day.
Recreation is not a hot issue in Port Dover, he said.
“If it is, people are keeping it to themselves.”
Coun. Wells said Port Doverites speak out on specific issues such as a dog park, Misner Park or Silver Lake Park.
But, in general, people don’t give a lot of input, he said.
Consultants are finishing 20 focus groups with recreation users and taxpayers to gather information for a $75,000 recreation master plan to be delivered to Norfolk County this fall.
Trails are seen as the county’s top recreational asset and walking is the top activity, Mr. Galloway of Lees and Associates of London, Ont., told councillors on April 15.
Mr. Galloway said he is not convinced that baby boomers, who are now retiring, are interested in traditional seniors’ centres.
Baby boomers are healthier and have better pensions than previous generations of seniors.
“They wouldn’t be caught dead at a seniors’ centre,” he said.
Why must every new subdivision have its own green space? asked Mayor Travale.
The county may have too many parks, the mayor said.
Maybe more centralized facilities would be better, he said.
Mayor Travale said development of the Lake Erie lakefront should not be just for tourism.
He noted that the county owns many lots on Hastings Drive on Long Point, which might be used for recreation.
In 10-15 years, youth will be the largest component of the population, the mayor noted.
Trails would be enhanced if they included activities or dioramas, he said.
Mayor Travale advocated a holistic approach to sidewalks, parks, arenas, trails and seniors’ facilities.
The private sector must have a role in recreation because the county can’t do everything for everybody, he said.
Residents of Simcoe are concerned about sediment choking the Lynn River in their downtown parks, Simcoe Coun. Peter Black said.
Canada geese and their droppings are also a perennial problem in the parks.
Norfolk roads need more bicycle lanes and the county should look at reviving the Windham Centre velodrome, Charlotteville Coun. Jim Oliver said.
The county must spend less on labour-intensive programs and facilities as it spends more on roads, sewers and water and sewage treatment facilities, he said.
Coun. Oliver said all towns in Norfolk should have dog parks.
Waterford’s lakes have not been developed to their potential, Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg said.
Talk of the Silver Lake Rowing Club creating a branch in Waterford is drawing more attention to the lakes, he said.
More and younger volunteers are needed to replace older volunteers who are burning out, Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus said.
Young people in rural areas have different needs, Middleton Coun. Roger Geysens said.
For example, they want trails where they can ride all-terrain vehicles.
Western Norfolk needs more activities for youth, Port Rowan Coun. Betty Chanyi said.
Just because people live on a farm doesn’t mean they’re active, she said.
It’s hard to walk on a busy road that has snowbanks, she said.
The county, school boards and community groups must plan together and not in isolation, Simcoe Coun. Charlie Luke said.
Posted: April 25, 2014