Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Letters to the editor...Mayor rebuts local sports field critic
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 14 Jun 2006, p. 6

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(This letter was written in response to a letter from Mr. Clayton Browning which appeared in the June 9 Independent & Free Press. A copy was made available for publication.) Dear Mr. Browning, Thank you for your correspondence expressing your pleasure with respect to living in this great community, and your specific concerns about sport facilities. While I understand that you may be frustrated with the size of some of our older softball facilities in Town, these are the same facilities that have served the residents of this community (young and old) for decades. As player development and technology in the sport of softball has resulted in the need for bigger softball diamonds, the Town has responded to this need in the construction of our newer facilities such as Gellert. You make reference to "out of town" facilities such as Limehouse, Hornby, and Glen Williams. As Mayor, I can tell you that this council is responsible for the overall activities of one town-- the Town of Halton Hills. The investments we make in sport facilities are done in a strategic manner and in the best interest of the taxpayer. We view the equitable location of facilities and maximizing the use of such facilities as being the fiscally responsible way of serving our constituents. To construct costly facilities in one location while nearby facilities are underutilized simply does not make sense. Turning away residents who are interested in sport is never an outcome this council is satisfied with. In speaking with our Recreation and Parks staff, they have assured me that all requests made by your organization for diamonds in 2006 has been accommodated, and there is some capacity remaining. Lastly and most importantly, your correspondence makes reference to a "lack of planning" and viewing "recreation as something other than a nuisance". Firstly, the Town has, and continues to do, a formidable job of planning for sport facilities. In 1999, council purchased a 98-acre parcel of land in order to accommodate the growth of soccer and softball/baseball. In consultation with sport groups (of which GSL was represented) the Town developed a master plan for the Trafalgar Sport Park which included four full-sized diamonds. I am happy to share these plans with you at your convenience. Let me clarify for you that the planning of sport facilities (which has been completed long ago) is an entirely different issue than financing sport facilities. At the present rate of taxation, council allocates $2.2 million towards the Town's overall capital program. In a recent public survey, council was informed that road construction and maintenance is the greatest priority among residents. Accordingly, council allocates the greatest portion of these capital dollars towards roads. Similarly, recreation facilities were ranked high among public interest, and subsequently receive the second largest portion of the Town's capital budget. Notwithstanding this, at a cost of well over $10 million to construct the Trafalgar Sport Park, there remains a significant discrepancy between what residents would need to pay in taxes, versus what they wish to pay in taxes. It is for this reason that council and staff continue to work with groups such as yours, to look at creative ways to advance our mutual interest in sport facility construction. You may wish to know that we have begun such discussions with your own organization, and I encourage you to speak with your president. Mayor Rick Bonnette

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14 Jun 2006
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Bonnette, Rick ; Browning, Clayton
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Letters to the editor...Mayor rebuts local sports field critic