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Severn changes course, votes to seek grant for new rec centre

Councillors swayed after concerned resident hosts public meeting; This is 'a really excellent example of community activism,' says resident
2019-10-25 Westshore Recreation Centre
A rendering of what the recreation centre in Westshore could look like.

Severn Township council has reversed its decision to not apply for a grant for a recreation centre.

In October, citing a lack of information about how much the facility would cost, council voted 4-3 against applying for up to $5 million to go toward its planned Westshore Recreation Centre on Menoke Beach Road. That’s when Severn resident Wanda Minnings took action.

Minnings organized a public meeting, which took place Oct. 29 at Hope Community Church in Cumberland Beach. There were developers in attendance, and their comments helped sway council, said Mayor Mike Burkett.

“They were banking on that community centre going through,” he said, noting there are plans to build 340 homes in the area over the next year, and hundreds more after that. “Based on what was heard at that meeting, the other councillors changed their minds.”

At its next meeting, council voted unanimously in favour of applying for the grant.

“I almost felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” Minnings said, describing the public meeting as “a really excellent example of community activism.”

“We don’t know if there will be an opportunity for a $5-million grant in the future, so it was really important.”

Burkett said he was “really happy” with council’s change of heart.

“We have a pretty good chance (at receiving a grant) because we’re shovel-ready,” he said.

Burkett commended Minnings “for the hard work she did.”

Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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