DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Councillors lashed out at individuals responsible for recent vandalism at the new skate park this week, during a presentation detailing the landscape design for the site.
Amanda Ferraro, the township's Manager of Recreation, Culture and Tourism appeared before council alongside landscape designer Adrian Giacca to detail the landscape features expected to be installed at the skate park later this year, when talk shifted to recent vandalism at the park.
Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet began things by expressing a desire for additional pathways to reach the park.
"I'd hate to see it landscaped and kids create dirt paths to the park. Because, they are going to take the shortest possible route," said Councillor Highet.
Then, after Ms. Ferraro explained that some boards have been removed from the fence to provide easier access to users, Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor engaged in tough talk for would-be vandals.
"I'm very distressed to hear that they're taking down the fence," Mayor O'Connor commented. "We're building a park for them to enjoy, and a lot of time and money has gone into it. And, it's not their fence to take down.
People have worked very hard on the park, and to see this lack of respect is very disheartening. If it doesn't improve, we're in for a very long haul."
Ms. Ferraro then explained that a Skate Park Ambassador program is currently in the works to aid the park through positive reinforcement from other young people.
The Mayor was hopeful that the situation will improve, but also pledged to issue a swift response should such incidents of vandalism continue.
"I have zero tolerance for destruction of property. That is definitely starting off on the wrong foot," said Mayor O'Connor. "If it continues, we'll have to take severe steps, and that's not fair to the majority of kids using the park."
The news of vandalism overshadowed Mr. Giacca's detailed presentation on the landscape design for the site.
"It was our goal to bring an attractive and safe atmosphere to the skate park," explained Mr. Giacca.
He would add that among the features users can expect to see are a shade structure between the parking lot and the park, including picnic tables to allow for shaded viewing of all the action at the park.
As well, there will also be a garden at the site, which will be maintained in partnership with the Uxbridge Horticulture Club.
The pathway leading to the park will contain stones signifying the many donors to the site.
However, Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy felt that more could be done to recognize those who contributed funds towards the project.
"If I was a donor, or a business owner in town, I'd like people driving by to be able to see my name," said Councillor Molloy.
Ms. Ferraro responded by saying that the sign at the road would have to be quite large in order to be readable, and that the Skate Park Committee had previously discussed where donor recognition stones would be most visible.
Mayor O'Connor then added that similar donor displays at the Arena, Legion and Library all are inside, and that the sign at the road will be reserved for the as yet to be determined name for the entire complex, which is also slated to feature a pool in the coming years.
The mayor then pitched a novel idea to combat vandals, and ensure proper respect for property is being displayed.
"When I retire from this job, I'm going to sit up there and watch them," joked Mayor O'Connor. "But, don't hold your breath for my retirement."
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