Callander reminds all to respect the gazebo

Centennial Park is the apple of many a Callander residents’ eye, and the new pavilion built this past fall added another reason to love the lakeside space. The other day, the municipality reposted a photo of the park by Jackie James on its Facebook page. James’ image captured a pristine winter pastoral, however upon closer examination, the scene wasn’t as idyllic as it seemed.

Certain aspects of that photo caught the attention of municipal staff, and when they reposted the photo staff superimposed a call to snowmobilers to refrain from riding “your machines through the park and our new pavilion.”

That’s right, through the new pavilion. Tracks run in one door and out the other. Residents reacted, mostly calling out the mystery driver for disrespecting the gazebo and the park itself. One offered to donate some seed if any of the grass was torn up—not much snow when those tracks were made—so generally, the community came together to express their disappointment with those tracks.

Mayor Robb Noon mentioned that he too felt a bit let down by the act, as it could lead to more maintenance costs. There’s not much room for a sled to get through that pavilion, and a momentary lapse of judgment could have resulted in injuries to the driver, and damage to the gazebo.

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The gazebo cost $190,000. Not only that, but not far below that thin snowpack is a the newly laid boardwalk, which rang in at just over $100,000, and the last thing the municipality wants is for that to get damaged. Moreover, money was spent to plant perennials around the pavilion, and the machine put those at risk as well.

“It’s one of the nicest things we’ve put up,” Noon said, “and as soon as it’s up, somebody drives through it and risks damaging it.” He understands this is a rare incident, and by no means reflects the many snowmobilers in the area. After all, Callander’s motto is “Four Seasons of Reasons,” and winter sports and activities are enjoyed by so many in the region.

But the incident does provide opportunity to remind all to “respect the taxpayers,” Noon said, and “how much the municipality has invested to improve the community.”

On that note, Noon also mentioned that recently a string of lights was taken from the gazebo on the pier, which will also need to be replaced. “We’re building this vision,” Noon said, referring to the municipality’s Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Plan, “and now you have to take into account that vandalism may occur.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca