Funding for new playground equipment throughout Bluewater is being sought after by the municipality.
Councillors unanimously passed a motion during the June 7 regular council meeting to seek funding through the Healthy Communities Initiative to buy and install a new accessible playground structure at the Hensall Community Complex Park For $150,000 and purchase additional accessible play structure elements for Lions Park in Zurich and Clan Gregor Square in Bayfield.
The Healthy Communities Initiative is a federal funding program which aims to invest $31 million in communities across Canada to aid with the adaptation of public spaces in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the initiative’s first round of funding has already closed, its second round opened May 14 and has a deadline of June 25.
The decision was made after councillors discussed several options which were presented to them by municipal staff which included applying for the replacement of only the play structure in Hensall for $250,000.
Another option, which some councillors voiced their approval of, would have seen the municipality seek funding to buy playground structure elements for Hensall, Zurich and Bayfield without replacing Hensall’s current structure.
Coun Scott Harris said he disagreed with the idea of installing accessible play structure elements at the Hensall Community Complex Park without replacing the park’s play structure.
“I don’t think that’s the route that the Hensall playground should be taking considering it is a very busy playground,” said Harris.
Coun. John Becker initially made a motion to seek funding to install play structure elements throughout the municipality while keeping the Hensall structure, but changed his motion after discussions to specify that the Hensall playground’s play structure would be replaced, and additional accessible and inclusive playground equipment would be purchased and installed for Lions Park in Zurich and Clan Gregor Square in Bayfield, saying he liked the idea of spreading the funding throughout the various communities in Bluewater.
“I think that’d be a great chance to use this money,” said Becker.
Responding to a question from Coun. Alwyn Vanden Berg about whether the funding stream could be used to pay for stairways to access Lake Huron, CAO Laurie Spence Bannerman said that the inability for stairs to be considered accessible would be a challenge in securing funding.
ELECTION SERVICE PROVIDER APPROVED
Councillors approved entering into an agreement with Simply Voting to provide an internet and telephone voting system for the upcoming municipal election.
The process of selecting an internet and telephone election service provider was undertaken by the Huron County Elections Working Group, which issued a joint request for proposal that received two proposals from Simply Voting and Scytl.
According to a report from Bluewater clerk Chandra Alexander, the working group met April 26 to discuss the submissions and previous experiences with the suppliers, and came to the conclusion that Simply Voting would be able to supply “the most cost effective, reliable, secure, and inclusive service” for the municipal election in 2022.
Responding to feedback from council that the 2018 election results lacked a breakdown of voting results by ward, Alexander wrote in her report that Simply Voting would be providing that service for the upcoming election.
“I do think that it’s great that they took our feedback and they are going to provide that update of the at-large positions by ward, which is not a reporting function that was available at the last election,” said Bluewater clerk Chandra Alexander to councillors.