Re­cre­ation Master Plan up­date, Bi­cy­cle Friendly moves

Shoreline Beacon - - News -

One of the top items on Saugeen Shores’ short-term re­cre­ation short-term to-do list to help re­solve the short­age of ice pads in Saugeen Shores will be de­bated by the Town’s Re­cre­ation & Ac­tive Trans­porta­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (RE­ACT) at its Dec. 6 meet­ing when it re­ceives a con­di­tion re­port of the Southamp­ton Coli­seum.

That re­port will help the Town de­cide the tim­ing for con­sid­er­ing op­tions to ren­o­vate, re­place or build a new area in the Southamp­ton area, ac­cord­ing to Jayne Jagelewski, the Town’s Direc­tor of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices in an Nov. 27 up­date to the Saugeen Shores com­mit­tee of the whole.

One year ago, af­ter pub­lic in­put and work with a con­sul­tant, Saugeen Shores ap­proved a Re­cre­ation Master Plan as a blue­print for de­vel­op­ment for the next decade. it in­cluded 52 ac­tions items, and along with other ice pad re­lated short-term goals to de­velop a new fair and trans­par­ent ice al­lo­ca­tion pol­icy - the draft is ready for de­bate with ap­proval this spring - Jagelewski’s up­date in­cluded progress on ex­pand­ing the num­ber of drop-in skate pro­grams dur­ing prime and non-prime time slots.

With Coun­cil’s re­cent de­ci­sion to seek part­ners to help pay for a new pool/aquat­ics cen­tre at the Port El­gin Plex, Coun. Neil Me­nage noted the Re­cre­ation Master Plan calls for Cen­ten­nial Pool to be de­com­mis­sioned and con­verted into a gym when the new fa­cil­ity opens.

“For me, its build a new pool and im­me­di­ately re­pur­pose the old pool I’ like to see [the projects] linked,” Me­nage said. He also noted that rec­om­men­da­tion num­ber 35 calls for ex­pan­sion of the cur­rent eight vol­ley­ball courts at Port El­gin Main Beach, some­thing he does not want to hap­pen.

“If we want to make sure we don’t in­cite a riot, the eight courts that are there are the limit ” Me­nage said, ask­ing for a re­view of the Master Plan goal to talk with the vol­ley­ball club abut ex­pan­sion. He also sug­gested they “strike while the [de­vel­op­ment] iron is hot” and look into sell­ing Town-owned land in the Bruce/Joseph Streets area of Port El­gin where there is an un­used soc­cer field to help pay for the expensive projects on the hori­zon in­clud­ing a new po­lice sta­tion, aquat­ics cen­tre and the sug­gested $8.9 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion/twin­ning of the Southamp­ton Town Hall/li­brary.

Jagelewski sug­gested coun­cil­lors with sug­ges­tions “pop” into her of­fice with sug­ges­tions, an “in­ter­est­ing con­cept” ac­cord­ing to Me­nage who said he didn’t think it was ap­pro­pri­ate for him to“pa­rade” into her of­fice with pri­or­ity changes, and asked for a process as­sess tim­ing of the Master Plan projects.

Jagelewski said staff would take that process and there should be some reliance on the ex­per­tise the Town re­ceived by its con­sul­tant.

“What you see is a cap­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions given to Com­mu­nity Ser­vices. What you don’t see is all the other ones hap­pen­ing out­side of those rec­om­men­da­tions, as well,” adding there is a strate­gic process to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions.

Vice deputy Mayor Diane Huber noted that a RE­ACT sub-groups are study­ing ice sur­faces, ball di­a­monds and soc­cer grounds and will re­port in the com­ing months.

Mak­ing Saugeen Shores a bet­ter place for cy­cling will take engi­neer­ing; ed­u­ca­tion; en­cour­age­ment; en­force­ment, eval­u­a­tion and plan­ning. Those next steps were de­tailed in a Bi­cy­cle Friendly Com­mu­nity sum­mary re­port, a five-year plan now un­der re­view by Town staff who are work­ing on rec­om­men­da­tions to pri­or­ize and im­ple­ment a work plan.

In the process to be­come a more bi­cy­cle-friendly com­mu­nity - there are 39 in On­tario - the Town worked with the Share the Road Cy­cling Coali­tion’s Justin Jones, said the Saugeen Shores ap­pli­ca­tion to be­come a Bi­cy­cle Friendly Com­mu­nity is “re­ally good” and he hoped to be back in the New Year with good news that the ap­pli­ca­tion had been ap­proved.

In his sum­mary to the Saugeen Shores Nov. 11 com­mit­tee of the whole, Jones said mak­ing peo­ple feel safe when they ride their bikes is key, and this area’s off-road trails and low-vol­ume traf­fic roads are an as­set.

“The Rail Trail net­work should be cel­e­brated over and over and over. The fore­sight that was dis­played in keep­ing the old rail­heads set aside is pay­ing div­i­dends times and time again,” Jones said, adding the ex­ten­sion of the Great Water­front Trail through Saugeen Shores on the Lake Huron route is go­ing to be a “game-changer” as this area has some of the best ac­cess from the trail and lo­cal ameni­ties.

Jones said the Town’s one­day bike work­shop in May pro­moted the Town’s first Glow Ride, a school chal­lenge, and the Gran Fondo (Big Bike) fundrais­ing event planned for Au­gust by the Saugeen Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion will show­case lo­cal cy­cling.

Cy­cling cham­pion - Coun. Don Math­e­son - called for more paved shoul­ders. He noted that as a child in Southamp­ton he rode his bike all over, but now, wor­ried about their safety, he will not al­low his kids to ride their bi­cy­cles on some busy roads. He said it makes good sense to de­velop sports tourism in Saugeen Shores

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