McLennan Recreation Board invited community members to a special meeting on November 7 at Ecole Providence.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the future of Hamelin-Leiding Memorial Playground, located at on the north side of H.W. Fish Arena.
The Recreation Board commissioned a Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) Playground Equipment Compliance Inspection Report, which was issued on June 19 2018.
The report on the status of the park and its equipment cited a number of items that should be decommissioned and replaced in the short term, while other pieces of equipment are still safe and functional for the time being.
The life expectancy of the playground is estimated to be twenty years, and Hamelin-Leiding is now eighteen years old, so the depreciation of the equipment is to be expected.
Recreation Board members chairing the meeting were board president Marie Anne Jones, Margaret Jacob, Sue Delaurier and Maggie Gervais. The mayor of McLennan, Michelle Fournier also attended.
Marie-Anne Jones opened the meeting stating that the goal is to initiate setting up a playground subcommittee under the Recreation Board, similar to the subcommittee for the board’s annual Oktoberfest.
The Oktoberfest subcommittee has some rec board members but it is also made up of non board members who recruit others to sit on the committee.
“We take care of the fitness centre, the playground, pond hockey, basketball, badminton, running club and soccer and we have received grant money to put in a multi-sportsplex. We put on a couple of big fundraisers a year lately, which are the Oktoberfest and the East Coast Night.”
Jones also pointed out that because Hamelin-Leiger is a memorial park it makes it important to a lot of people in the community.
“Our point of view is that we would like to keep it or have a new one but we need help,” she says. “We have so much on our plate we really need community commitment.”
Due to the high costs of playground equipment, Sue Delaurier suggested that they should follow the lead of other communities and lay out the park in sections and refurbishing it piece by piece.
“You can go through your park and keep the things that are still good for now, remove what is totally bad and then replace one or two pieces a year that you can afford,” says Delaurier. “A lot of communities are doing it that way.”
The consensus from the twelve people at the meeting seemed to be that a community needs a playground, and that there is little advantage in moving it to another location, especially as Hamelin-Leiding is a memorial Playground.