With the deferral of his last attempt at convincing Council to buy land to build another park in his Sunnyside Ward 3 coming only a week after he helped pave the way for the rezoning of Edghill Park into commercial property for the proposed health hub, he has been silently waiting for enough time to pass to bring the proposal before Council again. It seems that tonight was the night.
Under “general business”, he again asked Council when staff would be directed to perform the feasibility study and cost estimates to buy the land and equip a park in Sunnyside. Already home to beachfront parks the addition of this park (even if it was not going to cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars) still rubs salt into the wounds of the thousands of local residents who’s failed and ignored petition of both Town and County Councils called on the preservation of the last waterfront facing parkland in Midland.
All councillors other than Main, Contin and File voted in favour of rezoning the park and rebuffed resident petitions by citing that Midland already had more than its fair share of green space and a “surplus” of parkland.
This last phrase came from Streathearn’s own lips. Councillor File helped to defer this insulting motion to create new parkland only days after declaring the “surplus” as justification to give away Edgehill, and scolded Streathearn for bringing it to Council so soon after the decision. Furthermore, no “feasibility study” was ever provided for Edgehill Park, nor any mention of adding playground structures.
It seems that the plan to divest taxpayers and future generations of waterfront parkland was set into motion well in advance as Councillor (former Mayor) MacDonald’s pet project after being a longtime board member and advocate for a new home for Chigamik/Waypoint on the “Promised Land”.
It seems that Councillor Strathearn figures that enough time has passed that he can slide “his park” back onto the agenda and get Council behind this new bid for a park in his neighbourhood.
Even our members in Ward 3 see this as a hypocritical move by their Councillor. While they would love another park in the ward, many signed the petition to urge Council to keep parkland in the hands of the community. Now they are faced with tax increases brought on by the prospect of buying land and turning it into a park and the betrayal of being told that Midland had too many parks as justification for the Edgehill decision by most of Council including Streathearn. The irony is that Streathearn is a founding father of the tax cutting group MidlandCommunity.ca which has been critical of council decisions that see taxes spent on anything but minimums…
Council did not commit to a timeframe to revisit this but nor did they say no… we will have to watch and listen very carefully to see when this comes up on the agenda again. This group formed around Council’s decision to ignore the petition and this founding issue is not one we will soon forget.
Here is some local reporting on the issue when he first raised it: http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/5469256-new-park-on-radar-for-sunnyside-area-in-midland/