First fully accessible playground for Whitchurch-Stouffville with new funding

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Whitchurch-Stouffville is receiving over $900,000 in federal funding for tourism and community infrastructure projects.

Markham-Stouffville MP Helena Jaczek, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), made the funding announcement in Civic Square August 24.

Shannon Jaffer, manager of heritage, events, and theatre operations for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, emceed the event.

“We know that modern, attractive community spaces and a robust tourism sector not only make the lives of the residents better through connectedness and physical activity, but they also help attract visitors and drive economic activity in the region,” Jaczek said.

“This is why our government created the Tourism Relief Fund and the Canada Community Revitalization Fund."

FedDev Ontario distributes federal funding to programs throughout the province to strengthen communities with infrastructure improvements and to support the recovery of the tourism industry as it rebounds from the pandemic.

More than $340,000 will fund significant enhancements to support local economic activity and draw visitors. Projects will include the installation of nine sidewalk cafes, two public parkettes, and a community stage downtown.

The funding will also allow for the revitalization of the Memorial Park bandshell and the sculpture walk, plus enable the Stouffville Holiday Market, introduced last year, to become a permanent annual event.

The enhancements will benefit more than 120 businesses and draw thousands of new visitors annually, increasing the downtown’s vibrancy and economic activity.

“With the funding of our dynamic downtown project, local businesses and the arts community alike will benefit from enhanced events and event spaces,” said Iain Lovatt, the Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

He added that a fully accessible playground “will ensure children of our community and abroad of all abilities can play and have fun in a safe environment.”

The town is receiving approximately $560,000 to construct a fully accessible playground in Memorial Park.

“We are tremendously thankful to minister Jaczek and FedDev Ontario for their support and this generous funding,” Lovatt stated. It also “supports the continued efforts to remove barriers and enhance our programs locally. Our shared goal is to make the town’s events and activities more accessible and inclusive to our diverse and growing community.”

He confirmed that in the last four years, the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has received more than $8 million in federal funding for various projects.

Jennifer McLaughlin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stouffville Review