Over the past little while, Greater Sudbury has gained incredible parkland and playgrounds from the generosity of community members. Lily Fielding contributed more than $1 million to the creation and development of Kivi Park in the Long Lake area in the South End. Kelly and Cory Morel have so far committed $250,000 for a splash pad and park improvements in Minnow Lake. Fundraising from family members and a community committee, and in-kind donations from local businesses led to the opening of the DJ Hancock Memorial Park in the south end. These parks will be enjoyed by many families for many years.
It is a striking reminder of the powerful positive impact an individual, family or small group of people with resources and generosity can make for their fellow citizens.
It is also a reminder of the importance and impact of great parks. Every neighbourhood, every family and child, should have access to great parks. Not every neighbourhood will have a benefactor. That is why, collectively, as a City, parks are our responsibility. We have some amazing parks in Greater Sudbury. There are also neighbourhoods where kids don’t have the parks they need, and that’s when we as a city need to step up. Providing a decent playground for the kids at Ryan Heights and protecting the Donovan Mountain as parkland are two current examples of needs we should be meeting.
According to the OMBI (Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative), in 2013, the cost per person to operate our parks was $57.
Over the past little while, I have heard many people say, “If I had the money, I’d do that. I’d donate a big chunk of parkland, or build a great playground.” But here’s the thing. You, me, all of us do have the money, because we are taxpayers, and parks are public. So don’t wait. Pick up the phone and tell your councillor that you’d support a bit of a tax increase for great parks for everyone. Most of us don’t have a million. But I bet we each have $6.25, and that adds up to the same thing, if we choose.
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