St. Clements picnic shelter to get accessibilty ramp as council approves funding
A NEW PICNIC SHELTER in St. Clements Lions Park will include an accessibility ramp, as Wellesley council this week approved contributing $4,500 to the project.
The township will draw on a reserve fund set up under the auspices of its involvement with the Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee (GRAAC). The overall project is being coordinated by the Paradise District and Lions Club.
“As a small club, we’ve invested quite a bit into this park over the last couple years,” club member Kim Lorentz told councillors Tuesday night. “The current build is approximately $51,000. With the previous equipment that we’ve put into the park, we’re very quickly approaching $100,000 as a community build. Some very big sponsors in the local community have helped us with that.”
Indeed, the original picnic shelter structure was demolished and replaced with a new structure immediately south of the former location, priced at $50,000. That project was approved by council in May. The renovation of the park has been an ongoing project for the Lions Club.
“We’re at sort of a crux in our build,” Lorentz continued. “We could probably gray the new slab out on the existing park and make it very pretty, nice and even. But it would limit the accessibility for the overall community. This rising sidewalk opens that up to the overall community no matter what the challenges might be for that person.”
The GRAAC reserve has a balance of $41,141.89, which will sufficiently cover the cost, and are also exploring grant opportunities if available.
In approving the ramp project, council’s goal is to improve accessibility for all members of the public.
“We have seen an opportunity where we can improve the accessibility of the new picnic structure to the overall community,” added Lorentz.
Concerns about the project, raised at council’s September 28 meeting, are in the process of being addressed. They include
grading at the site, which will be completed by township recreation staff after the project is finished, and how to transition the new build to the old cement pad in order the meet provincial accessibility requirements. Organizers have ensured that the project would meet these regulations.
The ramp will extend from the new structure down to the cement pad where the original structure used to be.