Submitted by the Georgian Bay Coyotes
Following the opening of a new super school in Meaford as replacement for the old high-school (GBSS) and the listing for sale of the old GBSS building, attention now turns to the old GBCS athletic field at 87 Aiken St. On October 4, 2022 the Bluewater District School Board Business Committee of the Whole quietly and unanimously passed a recommendation from Rob Cummings, Superintendent of Business Services and Treasurer that the School sports field property is no longer required for school purposes, and therefore surplus to the needs of the board and will be disposed of in accordance with Ontario Regulations.
This means once the school makes a proposal to sell the Aiken St field, the Municipality will have 90 days to respond to the sale of the property before it is lost to the residents of Meaford. The municipality does not currently own or maintain a track facility nor does the Municipality own a basketball or soccer facility; all of which this property currently is.
Since 2016 The Meaford (Georgian Bay) Coyotes Track Club have petitioned council with the notion that the old GBCS athletic field will be lost as a greenspace and training facility for our town if Meaford council does not act. The latest phase of this campaign has centered around contacting candidates in the upcoming municipal elections and efforts by the team to raise community awareness around the future of the Aiken St field which abuts the Georgian trail along it’s southern perimeter.
The COVID pandemic has taught us to value the time we spend together and just how important it is that we can come together as friends, team-mates, coaches and families to connect, exercise and create memories together. Over the years the Coyotes management have made the case to council that Grey County is above the National average for drug abuse, alcohol abuse, obesity and under-activity among our youth as well as adults; That diabetes is on the rise, not just in our adults, but more importantly, among our teens and 20-30 age group. It was stressed that kids need more physical activity, a place to do it, and be able to participate at a reasonable cost along with a safe environment.
With several new infill developments underway or with the OLT (Ontario Land Tribunal) for approval, many more people will be able to live in this beautiful town we call home. This makes it increasingly important that we preserve our urban greenspace for future generations so that our growing town has the facilities to maintain a healthy, happy and medal winning population for generations to come.