The deadline for public feedback to the Memorial Park Master Plan is August 31, 2020. The plan can be viewed at: www.meaford.ca/memorialparkplan. The Executive Summary is only seven pages and will give you a good overview. Submit your comments, even if it’s only a sentence or two, to Bradey Carbert (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your voice can make a difference!
The Advocates for Memorial Park (AMP) perspectives on the final draft are very much aligned with the majority of public feedback received last year. It should be acknowledged and applauded that this feedback has resulted in the exclusion of many of the more significant development proposals in the final draft of the Memorial Park Master Plan.
Page 4 of the Executive Summary states: “A vision for Memorial Park over the next twenty-five years was developed based on feedback from the public, policy direction from previous park planning efforts and analysis related to the Park’s calculated capacity.” In other words, the “vision” of municipal staff (see SDR-15) appears to continue to hold significant sway in the final report in spite of oppositional public feedback.
Keeping in mind that the land was donated to the town in 1953 by Judge Cyrus Frank Moore “as a public Park and for no other use”, the vast majority of public feedback supports the notion that this land should continue to serve primarily a public park.
We find the continued emphasis in the final report on reconfiguring the campgrounds to accommodate ever larger campers at the expense of tent and small trailer camping to be undemocratic, catering disproportionally to the wealthy, and encouraging ever growing negative environmental impacts.
As the Moore family so eloquently put it in their feedback last year:
“The waterfront is the number one feature of the Park… No new camping on the waterfront should be contemplated. If any current camping were to remain at the waterfront, it would be nice if it were moved back far enough and landscaped in such a way that the waterfront in front of the campsites would be both physically and psychologically still available to the general public.”
And on page 466 (section 5.1) of the final Burnside report we find: “At Memorial Park & Campground, the beach is the primary attraction at the Park.” While this is obvious to anyone familiar with Memorial Park, it is not addressed in the “vision” section where it belongs.
Instead of critiquing the proposed new vision for the park, we have taken the liberty of rewriting this section. An expanded version of this was letter was recently sent to Council. The following Recommended Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Recommendations for Memorial Park are based on public feedback collected over the past sixteen months.
“To protect Memorial Park’s natural landscape for future generations while offering opportunities for inspiration, health, and recreational enjoyment for residents of Meaford as well as visitors to the area.”
Recommended Guiding Principles:
The natural sandy beach should be easily accessible to the public.
No further development of natural areas, especially within 35 meters of the waterfront.
Parking capacity already outstrips beach capacity.
No long-term/seasonal camping is to be permitted.
Memorial Park is first and foremost a public park; camping facilities and occupancy utilization should not displace public use of the park by residents of Meaford.
Goal 1: Recreational facilities will be well maintained.
Goal 2: Any facility upgrades, retrofits or new construction should be completed with consideration to the Park’s capacity, the Municipality’s sustainable development goals, and all Building Code and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards.
Goal 3: Camping facilities will be well maintained and support a mix of tents, and a mix of small and larger trailer camping.
Goal 4: Woodlands will be well-managed, protected and enhanced where possible; no new development should occur within the woodland area.
Major Project Recommendations:
Project 1: Retaining Wall
Engage the services of a respected shoreline erosion engineer familiar with alternatives to “hardening” approaches.
Re-naturalise as much of the sandy beach as possible and as soon as possible.
Project 2: Beachfront Buildings
As the beach washroom/change room building ages, either retrofit or replace to meet AODA requirements.
Depending on recommendations from shoreline erosion engineer move or protect the pavilion.
Re-evaluate options to upgrade Kin Hall to make it more accessible.
Project 3: Reconfiguration of the Upper Campground
Infrastructure upgrades to sewer, water and hydro should proceed.
Any reconfiguration of the upper campground should consist only of minor adjustments and avoid removal of mature trees or green space.
A balanced mix of tents, pop-up trailers and large campers should be accommodated and promoted.
Project 4: Reconfiguration of the Lower Campground
The lower campground can be reconfigured to move sites back from the waterfront to improve safety and to make the waterfront physically and psychologically available to the general public.
Increasing the size of sites is also recommended to provide an improved camping experience.
These recommendations would reduce the number of campsites in the Lower Campground from 30 to 17.
Project 5: Formalizing and Upgrading the Trail and Road Network
The trail network should be naturalized, closing smaller trails periodically allowing for re-growth but encouraging forest discovery.
Provide regular maintenance of all formal trails as required.
The cinder path trail should be identified as AODA.
Add amenities such as bird houses, “poop and scoop” bag dispenser and disposal
Further examine the potential to create a trail linkage to create a connection with the Georgian Trail.
Project 6: Address Aging Infrastructure
Burnside identified the need for various upgrades and maintenance for various buildings and infrastructure noting that much of the infrastructure and facilities are aging and outdated.
Particular focus should be given to potable water main capacity, wastewater concerns such as gravity sewers and pumping stations, storm runoff issues, etc.
While there are a host of issues still to be reviewed, we trust the ideas shared here will help Council, staff and the newly formed Parks Advisory Committee as they consider the Memorial Park Master Plan.
Advocates for Memorial Park (AMP)