Citizens share opinions on proposed ‘Community Hub’

Norfolk Councillors Peter Black, Jim Oliver, Roger Geysens at Monday’s meeting. They are seeking public input into the Recreational Hub concept.

A meeting at Port Dover Community Centre on Monday evening was the first of six being organized as ‘Community Consultations’ across the county to seek residents input and comment on a master plan of recreational facilities known as Norfolk Community Hub. These meetings are being organized by Norfolk County.
Following the six sessions, the County’s Input Sub-Committee will determine the next step.
Monday’s meeting was attended by about 100 people.
Everyone at the meeting was given a questionnaire asking for opinions on five questions. The first question asked people to identify which recreational facilities in the County they currently use. That was followed with a question asking if people preferred to repair existing facilities or build a new multi-use recreation facility. The third question asked where a new multi-use facility should be located offering downtown Simcoe, outside of downtown Simcoe or other as options. The fourth question asked if the individual would help in fundraising to support the construction of a new facility. The fifth question asked what additional recreation facilities were needed in Norfolk.
The Committee for the Port Dover meeting consisted of Councillors Jim Oliver (chair), Vice-chair Peter Black, John Wells, Roger Geysens and Mayor Charlie Luke. Other councillors were in attendance. County officials were General Manager Bill Cridland of Community Services; Manager Todd Shoemaker of Parks, Facilities, Recreation; Divisional Assistant Emma Vokes; and Stephanie Godby.
The meeting in Port Dover outlined and explained the proposed Norfolk Community Hub multi-use development.
A proposed location identified at previous Norfolk County Council meetings is a 30-acre property on Ireland Road and Decou Road near Fanshawe College in Simcoe. A citizen’s group is a driving force behind the Community Hub concept.
Chair Oliver thanked everyone for coming to the meeting, assuring them their opinions were valued.
General Manager Cridland explained in detail what had led up to this series of six meetings. He mentioned the county-owned facilities that required major repairs or eventual replacement.
He referred to the Wilmot Recreation Complex as a model for Norfolk County. That complex had cost $30-million when it was built and today could cost $45-million.
Supporting voices

In March of this year Chair Donna Gates of Fanshawe College Simcoe/Norfolk Campus stated in an open letter to Norfolk residents “we strongly support the initiative” for a Community Hub “on lands that will allow us to enhance our programming.”
Discussions concerning this huge multi-purpose complex has been in the fore since a delegation attended a Norfolk Council meeting in October of last year.
A large audience was also in attendance for an information gathering at Fanshawe College in April of this year.
A petition favouring the Norfolk Community Hub project was signed by 41 households of Pine Ridge Estates area in the northeast part of Port Dover in March of this year and forwarded to Norfolk County council.
The Community Consultation meeting on Monday in Port Dover was the first in a six-part schedule followed by meetings in Waterford on September 28, Port Rowan on October 23, Langton on Oct. 30, Delhi on Nov. 6 and Simcoe on Nov. 13.

Posted: September 28, 2017

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