Monteith Brown Planning Consultants (Canada) presented the final version of the much-anticipated Parks, Recreation & Culture Master Plan to the North Huron council on December 6.
This master plan is the North Huron council’s key initiative that will establish strategies to address the needs of its residents over ten years.
On November 10, Todd Brown, president of Monteith Brown, made a presentation to evaluate the preliminary findings and seek feedback from the council.
Brown advised council members that a virtual public information center was created online following the council’s presentation, and feedback was sought for two weeks up to November 25.
Further details and clarifications were requested and were received from the township’s staff. The input of staff, council, and the public were considered and integrated into the master plan.
The community consultation comprised an initial public information center community survey, stakeholder focus groups, township staff workshop, council and staff interviews, council presentation, and a final public information center.
Brown stated that the master plan involved 484 households (representing more than 1,100 residents) and 27 community stakeholder groups representing a wide range of participants, township employees, and councils.
Priorities for the top ten areas to increase public expenditures resulting from the consultations were identified by the study.
The public favored the expansion of trails, encouraging unstructured activities, engaging, and offering opportunities for the youth, parks improvements, enhancing existing facilities, making accessibility improvements, and more.
There is also the desire to maintain Blyth Campground. They believe that the Blyth Campground plays a vital role in local economic development and tourism as well as in promoting outdoor recreation options.
Both opposition and support were expressed for key directions in Blyth, which include the possibility of a daycare facility, repurposing the old ball diamond, new skateboard park and playground, and possibly working together with Blyth Lions Club to replace the existing outdoor wading pool by constructing a splash pad.
The renovation of existing nature trails was top of the list, with 87 percent of respondents agreeing with the idea, followed by farmers markets, arenas, playgrounds, multi-use trails, splash pads, the purchase of open spaces and parks, as well as fitness studios, equipment-based fitness centers, and community gardens.
According to the report, a total of 50 survey responses were received by both individuals and organizations in the master plan’s testing phase.
Respondents also requested an increased focus on advertising the G2G Trail.
Promotion and marketing for recreation, parks, and cultural activities need to be improved with the help of an online or hard-copy recreational guide.
The Howson Dam must also be acknowledged. However, it is understood that council members have chosen not to reinvest into the dam, given its age and the expense of the renovation.
The entire 206-page report is available for viewing at northhuron.ca.
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