Residents fight sale of park named after love of WW II veteran's life

·2 min read
A sign for Nellie Lunn Park in Wollaston Township, Ont. The township is planning to sell the park's land to help pay for a new firehall, much to the disappointment of some local residents. (Friends of Nellie Lunn Park - image credit)
A sign for Nellie Lunn Park in Wollaston Township, Ont. The township is planning to sell the park's land to help pay for a new firehall, much to the disappointment of some local residents. (Friends of Nellie Lunn Park - image credit)

An eastern Ontario "ecological gem" named after the love of a war veteran's life has been put up for sale, much to the dismay of some local residents.

The land for Nellie Lunn Park in Wollaston Township, Ont., roughly 250 kilometres southwest of Ottawa, was bequeathed to the township in 1981 by Boleslaw Klincewicz, who fought in the Second World War.

Klincewicz, who was near death at the time, had two conditions for the gift. First, the 40-hectare parcel of undeveloped mixed forests and wetlands on the rocky Canadian Shield should be kept a public park.

Second, it must be named after Nellie Lunn, the woman he called the "love of his life."

Township council, however, has voted to sell off the land in order to help raise money to build a fire hall. It's led to demonstrations outside council office, with people urging elected officials to change their minds.

"This park is a pretty significant asset for the township in terms of green space, being 97 percent of the green space that the council owns," said JD Fentie, who is part of a group called Friends of Nellie Lunn Park.

The need for a fire hall, Fentie told CBC Radio's All In A Day, does not justify selling the park.

"It was estimated that the sale was going to generate $150,000, maybe $250,000, and a fire hall would cost around $2.5 million," Fentie said. "So this is a drop in the bucket."

Court injunction sought

CBC News tried to reach the township last week for comment, but has not received a response.

Friends of Nellie Lunn Park has raised concerns that if the park falls into private hands, it could lead to developments that would have a ripple effect on nearby Wollaston Lake.

The group has asked the court for an injunction. Fentie said, in order to "delay the decision until the judge can have a look at the arguments that are being put forth by both sides."

Fentie said Lunn's descendants have written to the council, asking them to donate the land to a charity instead.

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