Sunday, April 18, 2021

Councillor Wants to Speed Up Establishment of Toboggan Hill

The snow might have melted away, bringing an end to the chilly winter months, but tobogganing will be a hot topic over the warm months to come.

Councillor Ross Kentner brought forward a motion during Council’s March 22 meeting seeking to accelerate plans for the designation of a toboggan hill in the municipality.

Kentner’s motion noted the popularity of Beautiful Joe Park for tobogganing, along with the inherent dangers and potential liability for the municipality as a result. Officially, the municipality does not allow tobogganing at the Beautiful Joe Park hill, however that hasn’t stopped throngs of sledding enthusiasts from heading to the hill for some winter fun. In addition to the dangers present at Beautiful Joe Park, the use of the hill for tobogganing also creates frustration for area residents due to large numbers of vehicles parked along the street outside of the park.

Though candidates for a safe, municipally sanctioned toboggan hill are few, there are plans for a toboggan hill to be developed as part of phase one of the Centre Street Park project.

The Centre Street Park is to be developed on an 11 acre property, formerly a landfill site. In addition to a toboggan hill, the plans include a parking lot and access to trails. The estimated cost for the first phase of the park development is nearly $1 million.

During Council’s discussion, Meaford Treasurer Darcy Chapman reminded Council that the municipality has roughly $960,000 in a development charge reserve fund for parks that could be used to fund the project.

Kentner’s motion was amended after discussion by members of Council, to ask staff to bring forward a report to Council outlining options for establishing a toboggan hill before the next winter season. The amended motion was approved by Council in a 5-2 vote.

After the meeting, Councillor Kentner expressed gratitude on his Facebook page for the support of his fellow members of Council.

I was pleased that a majority of councillors supported my motion today asking staff for a report on how we might advance plans for a tobogganing hill in the park planned on Centre St. The impetus for my motion is the inherent danger of tobogganing in Beautiful Joe Park where the road abuts the top of the hill and there are trees at the bottom of the hill,” Kentner noted in his post. “We heard from staff that there is a high degree of liability for the municipality in allowing tobogganing there and also that there is available funding to speed up development of the Centre St. park. The two locations are not that far apart. We might develop a real winter attraction at the new park and there would be ample off-street parking.”

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