Final draft of Gravenhurst Parks and Recreation Master Plan approved
Gravenhurst Council endorsed the final draft of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, in the May 16, 2023, meeting.
According to Steve Langlouis from Monteith Brown Planning Consultants, 73 formal recommendations were made for the plan involving a range of high to long-term priorities in support of an active and healthy community.
The Plan also received public review in March, with 500 participants overall, including a turnout of 60 residents at the open house, plus feedback on the Town website, through the survey, and at the stakeholder meeting.
Majority of Community feedback had an emphasis on trails, including improvements to existing ones and creating new ones, and having pickle ball courts in Town.
According to Langlouis, pickle ball is “fast growing, especially among older adults.” There is a demand for both indoor and outdoor courts. He adds, “Ontario municipalities are seeking short and long-term solutions to pickleball.”
Although the Town draft outlined short-term options for pickleball, Steve indicated that this community wants more long-term solutions.
Council members discussed the possibility of adding pickleball lines and creating rules to existing tennis courts as an immediate option, along with consulting with stakeholders for support for one or more courts until new ones are established. Permanent locations and cost sharing options were also issues raised.
Mayor, Heidi Lorenz, indicated that people are already using tennis courts for pickleball without lines.
Councillor, Penny Varney, suggested that putting lines for pickleball on tennis courts might be confusing for tennis players.
Councillor, Sandy Cairns, emphasized the increasing popularity of pickleball, and said items related to the sport were being given out at Blue Jay games. She added that the new apartment development at the south end of Town were putting pickleball courts, which could be an option for the community and recommended that staff follow up on it.
Cairns also recommended using a committee for dealing with trails, given that staff don’t have time. She said, “We had an active trail committee in the past,” and suggested “to get a volunteer group out to reinstate a trails committee again to do trail work.”
Councillor, Peter Johnston, suggested it was an “excellent Plan.” He felt the attention on trail is in line with the Town’s Climate Action Plan, considering that it’s an area for use of bikes, and with no emissions is better for the environment.
Johnston expressed the importance of following up on Plan items. He said, “It’s not enough to have plans to do things, people have to see it.” He inquired about whether there would be a quarterly or annual report available so they can see what initiatives from the Plan have taken place.
Lorenz indicated that Council would be able to see what initiatives have taken place in the annual budget.
Town CAO, Scott Lucas, advised that even though it’s a 10-year Plan. “It would be treated like annual business plans…where we would see where we’re at and where we need to be at.”
Staff will continue to work with Council and the community to begin implementing the Plan.