Ontario Ministers Launch Outdoor Fitness Equipment Installation in Grafton

In Community, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Neil Lumsden joined Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini on the grounds of the Haldimand Memorial Arena Monday for a ribbon-cutting to launch the new outdoor fitness equipment installation as part of a $98,500 Resilient Communities Fund Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Councillors, as well as members of both the community and the township’s Parks and Recreation Committee, gathered to welcome Lumsden, who was visiting Northumberland County for the first time in his ministerial capacity. He had just come from Colborne’s Big Apple and would be headed, afterwards, to Cobourg.

Town Crier Liam Cragg’s welcome was just one of the great things about living in rural Ontario, Piccini said.

“We don’t have the hustle and bustle and congestion and problems you see in the downtown community – I’m thankful every day driving home from Queen’s Park that I live in this community,” he said.

This is the kind of community that is conducive to the amenities that surrounded them, the MPP continued, like hockey arenas, ball diamonds, active walking trails and other recreation-and-wellness equipment that keep people active.

Piccini highlighted the importance of the OTF support for these projects, as well as for non-profit agencies like Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre.

Lumsden said the focus of his work – as a minister and in his own riding – is simple: to make things better.

He had been discussing with Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Sylvia Jones the importance of such things as activities, fitness, youth development, sports, the kind of programming that translates to better health. The potential is there, he added, to have a positive impact on our challenged health-care system.

Charles Tobias of the OTF Grant Review Team, said the foundation is celebrating 40 years of work in Ontario.

“Since 1982, we have been working to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province,” Tobias said.

“Our initial budget was $16-million. Today, it is $100-million.”Their latest budget saw investment in more than 1,000 community projects and partnerships, he added.

The Alnwick-Haldimand application had been to purchase recreation-management software and provide upgrades to the arena and to the Alnwick Civic Centre.

Deputy Mayor Joan Stover (standing in for Mayor John Logel) said the installation was completed on May 25 and has been in use every since.

“The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be overstated,” Stover said.

Congratulating the local volunteers who had created this successful application for Trillium funding, Lumsden encouraged anyone attempting a similar effort to call on his or her MPP if they need help.

“We want people to be successful. We want that challenge. We don’t want to push people away,” he said.

Prior to the ribbon-cutting, the town crier had a gift for Minister Lumsden – a Trinity College School hat to commemorate the alma mater not only of the minster, but also the town crier and MPP present as well.

Lumsden also took a moment to acknowledge a nod to his former career with the Hamilton Tiger Cats by autographing a Hamilton Ti-Cats hat for a fan as a surprise for her husband (who has been in every province in the country to attend Grey Cup games).

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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