Splash Pad / Skate Park

To be clear: I am in favour of a splash pad / skate park in Thamesford.  However…

While I support the splash pad and skate park in Thamesford, I do not support it in the 2016 Capital Budget.  I will be arguing that money be planned for it in the 2017 Capital Budget, pending the outcome of the “Recreation Master Planning process”.

I do not think these decisions should depend on having a “good Council” or “good Councillor” on the “right side” of an issue.

One of Council’s main responsibilities is to provide long term “good governance” to the Township and one of the key ways to do that is to give consistent guidance to staff to facilitate the right circumstances for such decisions in the long term.  In this way residents can count on consistent criteria for ALL such discussions and decisions in the future, and not JUST the one they happen to be involved in at the moment.

Let’s not forget that while people in the Thamesford community in particular are asking for these facilities now, there are other parts of the Township that may want similar facilities in the future.

As such, I would like the splash pad / skate park decision to be made in the context of the new Strategic Plan (http://www.zorra.on.ca/Portals/8/Documents/Strategic%20Plan/Final%20Strategic%20Plan.pdf).

One of the key Action Items in the new Strategic Plan is Item V1.1 under “We are a vibrant community” which states “Undertake a Recreation Master Planning process…”.  I think the splash pad / skate park needs to be a part of a bigger, more comprehensive recreation plan for Zorra which will then also address the needs of resident attraction and retention plan and business development.  As such it needs to be done right, and in the context of the larger Strategic Plan.

From the research I have done, and seen at ZRAC (http://www.zorra.on.ca/Our-Township/Committees/ZRAC), the location of a splash pad / skate park is critical to its success or failure.  Without some expert guidance on the size and location of the splash pad / skate park I think it would be irresponsible to proceed.  Especially when such expertise and guidance is on it’s way…

The new Recreation Programming Coordinator will be starting on March 7 and she would be responsible for this Recreation Study.  Staff have put a lot of time and effort into finding this person, and I feel strongly that we should use her expertise to guide this study and the implementation of a splash pad / skate park in particular.

If we are going to build a splash pad / skate park, and spend a lot of money doing it, we need to do it right.  If that means waiting a year for the appropriate expertise, research, and studies, then I think that is the responsible thing to do.

So, while I support the splash pad and skate park in Thamesford, I do not support it in the 2016 Capital Budget.  But I will be arguing that money be planned for it in the 2017 Capital Budget, pending the outcome of the “Recreation Master Planning process”.


Zorra’s Strategic Plan

Zorra’s Strategic Plan will be presented to Council at the January 12 Council meeting for consideration, and I am hopeful that it will pass at that time.  It would then be used for the remaining three years of this Council and would have to be readopted, modified, or scrapped by the next Council.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.31.55 AMI know that not everyone is excited by Strategic Plans, but I am…

I think it will be a great tool for Council and Staff to consider, evaluate, and prioritize new initiatives.  From there they would be fed into the budget process accordingly.  It should also help guide Council decisions on specific planning issues, and bigger longer term planning issues (like surplus farm house severances which I will be writing a future blog on…).

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.28.02 AM

These are commitments that Council and Staff will be obliged to consider and achieve for all new issues for the remainder of this Council term (3 years).  They are a “lens” through which we will look at all issues, opportunities, and challenges: “how does this fit in the strategic plan?”

One thing I am not happy about is the level of public input on the plan.  Staff have worked hard to get public input, asking in the Village Voice, Zorra Now, on the website, Facebook, Twitter, and holding three public meetings (Thamesford, Embro, and Harrington), but not a lot of people came out (thanks to those who did, your input WILL be incorporated).  So, please try to make some time next Tuesday and come to the Council meeting (Tuesday January 12 @ 9:30am) where the Strategic Plan will be considered, public input could still be received.  Or, contact your Councillor in the meant time.

If you are not happy about this plan, or are happy but want to add more, there is still time to have your say.

Here’s a link:



First Blog post!

I’m starting a blog!

I’ve never done this before, but a Facebook Post or Tweet is not always enough for some complex issues (Strategic Plan, budget, Walker Landfill proposal, surplus farm house severances, recreation plan, etc.), and I know not everyone wants all the detail on all the issues; so, for those bigger issues I will use this blog.

On Facebook and Twitter I will post a link to the Blog article and leave it to you whether to click on to it or not.  I can’t yet say how often I will write blogs, it will be an experiment.  Hopefully it will be useful to you.

Let me know!

Marcus Ryan
Councillor Ward 3

Mobile: 1.519.301.1634
FB: Marcus Ryan – Zorra
Township of Zorra
274620 27th Line
P.O. Box 306
Ingersoll, ON  N5C 3K5
Ph. 519.485.2490 or 1.888.699.3868
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