Mayor Dave Augustyn’s column for the week of 10 April 2017
A large group of residents attended our Council meeting last week in anticipation of the
discussion about a potential agreement with the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) for
partial renovation and joint use of Cherry Ridge Park.
The DSBN is in the process of consolidating the former Pelham Centre School (grades 4-8) and
E.W .Farr Memorial School (grades K – 3) to create one, grades K – 8 school at the former E.W.
Farr site. The consolidation required classroom additions and renovations including a new
gymnasium, a learning commons, parking and bus drop off. This construction is well underway
and the Board hopes to open the renovated school this September.
With this expansion, the school’s soccer field was eliminated. In order to leave the natural
topography and existing toboggan area of the school property, the Board approached the Town
to enter into a community partnership. They proposed building a soccer field partially on school
board property and partially on the public park lands.
Councillors considered this possibility in a report to the June 6, 2016 Committee of the Whole
meeting and, on June 20, Council approved the authorization of a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) between the Town and the DSBN to negotiate an appropriate agreement.
As part of these negotiations, the DSBN proposed a draft redesign for the Park and their lands
late last Fall.
At the request from the Town, the Board sent a letter and a survey to immediate neighbours
and other Cherry Ridge residents in February. They also surveyed all families of students. As a
result, the survey results included comments from both groups making it difficult to determine
the comments from the residents of Cherry Ridge.
In March, however, Council received a petition that contained the names and signatures from
most Cherry Ridge residents. The document outlined the concerns of neighbours and residents
about the soccer field as part of the Park and petitioned Council not to approve the change.
Staff met with and corresponded with DSBN Staff to determine how they would address
maintenance, complaints, and abutting neighbour concerns. After much deliberation, Town Staff
recommended last week that the Town not proceed with the proposed partnership and the
DSBN landscape and construct the soccer field solely on school property.
Applause broke out when Council agreed with the Town Staff recommendation and voted
unanimously not to proceed with development of a shared soccer facility at Cherry Ridge Park.
Councillors and I sincerely appreciated the feedback from residents in Cherry Ridge and from
across the Town about this issue.
You may contact Mayor Dave at email@example.com or review documents and read past
columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.ca .