McKellar holding public meeting on West Parry Sound pool project

·2 min read

McKellar Township announced at its March 9 council meeting that it would be holding a public meeting on the West Parry Sound wellness centre and pool project in the coming weeks.

Council also discussed some of the benefits and concerns that have been making headlines since December.

Opening the floor to discussion, Coun. Morley Haskim said that he would like a special meeting in which council could visit the eight recommendations from the wellness centre and pool committee.

Here is the conversation summarized in quotes:

“I really hope our seven municipalities and approximately 40 council members in the West Parry Sound area put their best foot forward to do what is best not only for their own municipalities but for our area as a whole,” said Haskim.

“I know there are concerns out there and we’re hearing a lot of the negative aspects of this and the only negative aspects really are the costs … I do have concerns; one is the layout of the facility. I believe that there are too many multipurpose rooms … I believe something to attract memberships to this facility and visitors to our area is we plan on a kid’s indoor playground — a state-of-the-art for Northern Ontario playground,” said Haskim.

“I think there’s one component that’s been missing throughout this entire process, part of the role of council according to the Municipal Act 2001 section 224 states: ‘to represent to the public and consider the well-being and interest of the municipality.’ There are taxpayers that support the proposed project and there are those that are opposed,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen.

“In all fairness to the taxpayers, and to determine what the majority position on the issue is in our community, let’s (initiate) a survey so that this council can fulfil the role to represent the public,” said Kekkonen.

“There’s no protection for the municipalities like Whitestone and McKellar. We have no vote at all in terms of our ability to influence the number of votes; Seguin has three, Parry Sound has two, McDougall has two and we all have one — there’s an even number of votes as well, so it doesn’t make any sense,” said Coun. Don Carmichael.

“We should have had a lot more community input all the way along the whole thing as part of the process, and not as a reaction to the grant, but as part of the development in the proper planning process. My basic concern is that it’s all been a reaction and not a plan, so that’s my own opinion based on my experience,” said Mayor Peter Hopkins.

McKellar has tentatively set the date for two to three weeks in the future, and will post the exact date on its website www.township.mckellar.on.ca.

Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star