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Potential TBM park upgrades popular with the public

The next step for the town is to engage a consultant to assist with design elements for how Moreau Park could be upgraded
moreau park
Moreau Park in Thornbury.

Residents of the Town of The Blue Mountains are certainly interested in seeing Moreau Park in Thornbury upgraded.

At its committee of the whole meeting on May 21, council received a staff report detailing the results of a recent community survey about the town’s plans to look at upgrades for Moreau Park in Thornbury. The park is currently home to a number of baseball diamonds, a leash free park area for dogs and a skateboard park. It is located immediately across the street from the Beaver Valley Community Centre.

In 2022, the Thornbury-Clarksburg Rotary Club approached the town about undertaking a project to revitalize the park under the theme: Kindness at Play. The town is in the early stages of planning a project to significantly upgrade the park and included $45,000 in the 2024 budget to launch the project.

The first step of the plan was a community survey about what elements the public might like to see at the park. The survey launched in September 2023 and ran until October 15, 2023. The survey generated a huge reaction with the public with the town receiving 764 responses.

The survey identified a number of potential elements that could be added to Moreau Park and asked the public to rank them in terms of what they would most like to see.

Ryan Gibbons, the town’s director of community services, said no decisions have been made about what kinds of elements to pursue in the park upgrade project. He said the survey results were being presented to council as information. Gibbons explained that the next step in the process was to complete a Request for Proposal for a consultant to assist with the project. Once a consultant is in place, the town will look at design elements and potential costs.

The results of the survey raised eyebrows around the council table.

“There was a lot of telling information in this,” said Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon. “It’s very overwhelming. This is a good broad stroke.”

Survey results showed that 75 per cent of respondents ranked updated/accessible playground equipment as important or very important. An upgraded skateboard park was important/very important to 62 per cent of respondents.

Other elements rated important/very important included: full washroom facilities (85 per cent), naturalized plantings and shade trees (85 per cent), a sheltered area (79 per cent), drinking water fountain (79 per cent) and lighting at the park (74 per cent).

Other general themes from the survey reported by staff included:

  • While many are in support of improving the baseball infrastructure (diamonds, batting cages etc.) in the park, there is concern from survey respondents that the baseball diamonds are underutilized and should be reduced in number in favour of other amenities or located elsewhere.
  • Respondents feel that many of the proposed amenities/facilities are available elsewhere and therefore, are not needed at Moreau Park (e.g., parking, pickleball and tennis courts etc.) or should be located elsewhere (e.g., sensory garden etc.) Many are looking for improved or new amenities/facilities that cannot be found elsewhere in the town.
  • Respondents demonstrated very strong support for focusing on developing more facilities for the youth and children in the town (e.g., a skate park/path, expanding and improving the playground, a bike pump track, an improved skateboard park, a splash pad etc.).
  • Many respondents made calls to improve the dog park, including suggestions to have an area limited to smaller dogs, while others suggest relocating the dog park to another part of the town. 
  • Other comments from respondents referred to the need for more washroom facilities, more trees, natural spaces and walking paths/ sidewalks, while others are concerned about costs, insurance liability and increased noise levels.

Full survey results can be found here.

The survey report also generated concerns from the community. Ron and Cindy Lennox sent a letter to council expressing concerns about the possibility of a reduction of baseball diamonds at Moreau Park.

“Having three diamonds in the same park allows parents with more than one child to be present for different age groups. It allows more diverse practices as coaches can have more varied drills on different diamonds. As the diamonds are different sizes it allows the BVAA to easily accommodate all age groups in their baseball program,” their letter stated. “It does not make sense to be considering relocating one or more of the baseball diamonds to make room for new amenities. If the town wishes to create new amenities e.g. a splash pad, a pool, a bike park, etc. it would be more cost effective to put the new amenities in a different location, rather than moving existing structures.”

Coun. Paula Hope said the Moreau upgrade project is a chance for the town to respond to the community’s input and improve the park.

“We have some fundamental issues in Moreau Park that have not been addressed,” Hope said, referring to the survey comments about shading, drinking water fountains and lighting. “This is an opportunity to catch up. We must look at these backbone elements.”

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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