Upgrades are coming to Oakwood Park in Victoria Harbour.
Tay council approved a five-year plan from the Oakwood Park improvements committee during regular meeting, which will foresee new arena boards and a cement surface for the rink in the first year.
An application for a Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund Grant in 2021 toward new rink boards was approved for $95,000 which allowed the committee the flexibility to explore further options.
Committee member Coun. Jeff Bumstead spoke to the decisions presented in the staff report.
“Our plan this year would be a new hard surface with a staff recommendation about cement for multi-purpose, with new rink boards and maintaining the original size of the rink; that’s something the committee and staff thought was important,” said Bumstead.
“Staff and committee members received some concerns about reducing the size down to 108 (feet) for the length from 160. Some people felt it wasn’t adequate for some use for the skating part of it.”
Approved in the 2022 capital budget was $120,000 for improvements for the park. The committee debated whether to use cement at a cost of $70,000 or asphalt at $32,000 for the hard surface, but the relief of the $95,000 grant funding along with observations at another rink solidified their decision.
“When you look at the rink in Waubaushene, the cement was poured there in 2014. I looked at it on the weekend,” said Bumstead, “with a little bit of clean up it looks almost new. It’s holding up quite well.
“For the committee with its multi-use – be it sports, community events – that cement was the preferred choice.”
Activities for the multi-use surface could include pickleball, ball hockey, day camp activities and special events.
Coun. Barry Norris praised the decision to go with cement, noting that with the multi-use purposes, it “makes all the sense in the world”.
The rink isn’t the only upgrade for Oakwood Park, located at 290 Park Street.
As the first of the five-year plan will be aimed at the rink, a plan for the other four years will be presented to council during budget deliberations later this year.
Tentatively, the second year will look toward asphalt trails from Maple Street to the park, the third and fourth years will aim for a new road access and parking area, and the fifth year is unknown.
Committee member Coun. Mary Warnock explained, “We also wanted that five-year plan so we would have an idea where you want to go with that park and how you want it to look as our community grows.
“I think it’s good to have those recommendations, and, of course, you’ll be looking at it from year to year according to your budgets.”
Mayor Ted Walker thanked the staff and the committee, including members Dennis Esterbrooks, Gerard LaChapelle, and Adam Savoie who helped at the start.
The Oakwood Park Improvements Committee report can be found in the council agenda on the township website.
Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agenda can be found on the Tay township website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca