Cruickshank family donation will make park upgrades a reality

·3 min read

WINGHAM – A donation from the Cruickshank family will help to improve Cruikshank Park, located across from the fire hall in downtown Wingham.

The park is named after W.T. “Doc” Cruickshank, founder of the CKNX radio and television stations.

Cruickshank launched a 10BP station from his Wingham home in 1926, using a homemade transmitter which he built on a butter box and carried from his home to his workshop, according to broadcasting-history.ca. In 1935, he received a private station licence for CKNX radio, and in 1955 he received the license for CKNX-TV.

Cruickshank died in 1971, just as the sale of his stations to The Blackburn Group was finalized.

At the Sept. 13 North Huron council meeting, council was informed of interest from Ellen Smith (Cruickshank) and the Wingham and District Horticultural Society (WDHS) to donate funds towards improvements at Cruickshank Park.

On Oct. 7, a meeting with Smith, the WDHS, and township staff was held to discuss how the donation would be managed.

In an email to the Advance Times, it was stated the donation is $12,000.

Director of Public Works Jamie McCarthy presented her report to council at the Nov. 1 council meeting, outlining three options for the council’s consideration on managing the donation.

The options were:

Option 1 – The WDHS would hold the funds in trust and coordinate schedule and completion of the projects. They would seek township approval for each project, as well as pay each invoice and track spending of the donation.

Option 2 – The Cruickshank family would hold the funds, and the WDHS would identify and complete projects in Cruickshank Park. WDHS would provide receipts and invoices to the family for payment, and would seek township staff approval for each project.

Option 3 - In collaboration and consultation with the Cruickshank family and WDHS, projects would be identified and completed. The township would receive funds from the Cruickshank family and provide taxable receipts. Staff would obtain quotes on priority project(s) and schedule contractors and supplies. Staff resources would be allocated as needed.

“During the meeting the WDHS indicated that they did not want to be responsible for obtaining quotes or holding the funds,” stated McCarthy in her report. “WDHS also indicated that the Cruickshank family wanted taxable receipts. For these reasons, Option 3 was identified as the preferred option.”

McCarthy said she supports Option 3 because it provides staff with oversight of all projects completed in Cruickshank Park, a municipally-owned asset. This option also limits WDHS’ liability and provides for a coordinated approach to improvements in Cruickshank Park.

Option 3 does require the allocation of staff resources to complete project(s) in Cruickshank Park. McCarthy said unfortunately, this means other township projects may get delayed.

McCarthy’s report said that until the full project list is developed, staff costs are unknown, but, other than the allocation of staff time towards the list there will be no financial impact on the township.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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