Thursday, 22 October 2015

Breslau can Build a Better Breslau

It is truly incredible how a small 4 acre piece of property can bring people together.  The view above is from the opposite corner of the park then most of my other photos with the community centre off to the left of the image.

There has been so many votes, discussions, meetings, arguments, counter arguments, presentations and media coverage on this project.  If you haven't been following it all feel free to scroll through the posts. Today I would like to introduce Building Breslau.

Building Breslau is a group of Breslau residents that are working to save our park land from being sold by the Township of Woolwich.  We have started a PLEDGE DRIVE to show the Township of Woolwich that Breslau will support volunteer fund raising efforts to build a library and provide amenities for the parks of Breslau IF council decides NOT to sell the park land to the Catholic school board.

This last statement is key, we are concerned that residents will have no desire to donate to our community projects if they feel the township could use those projects as bargaining chips in the future.  I have personally heard residents say this about the fundraising that took place for the current community centre gymnasium.  Approximately $400 000 was raised and now the township is using it as a bargaining chip with the WCDSB.  Consider this for a moment, would the school board be interested in building in this location if residents had not raised that amount of money?  If the community centre gym was never built would a school want to locate there? Residents now feel betrayed by their own generosity.  A long time member of the Breslau community spoke to council on October 20th and asked for his money back.  Whether you think this is a justified reaction or not, it is a real feeling that exists in past donors and something we need to consider moving forward.

Front entrance to Breslau Community Center
Building Breslau is not asking for actual money at this time, just a pledge of your support. Public discussion and setting priorities need to happen before we ask for money. Once monies are collected, they will be held in trust by a 3rd party charity, not the township. All donations will be processed through a registered charity for tax receipt purposes.

Pledges can be spread over a period of up to 5 years if needed, and if you have a specific item you would like to support (library, splash pad, etc), you can specify that on the PLEDGE FORM.
Front entrance garden at Breslau Memorial Park
Please help show your support to save Breslau Memorial Park and show council that people will support fundraising efforts to help build Breslau. For more information, or to make a pledge, please contact

The petition launched at the outset of this project in February has 264 signatures opposing the sale of this park land, demonstrating the opposition to this project.  However, this is the last push.  If council is not convinced that maintaining these 4 acres as parkland is in the best interest of Breslau, we have to decide what to do next.  We must come together to form our community by working together.  I am hoping for some nice weather on Saturday because I have been invited to work on cleaning up the front garden of Breslau Memorial Park.  Hidden in this mess (photo above) are 3 memorials that hold a significant connection to Breslau's history.  I will be meeting others there just after lunch this Saturday to work on this garden.  We can't just say we are a community, we need to be a community.

To reiterate the point, Building Breslau is NOT asking for your donation now (although there is a Lions club in Breslau that would love to talk with you about a Splash Pad).  This is a preliminary pledge to demonstrate to council what is possible when they believe in our community.  To close out this post I will leave you with this:

The name for Breslau Memorial Park was inspired by Private Donald Ralph Burkholder, who was killed in action during WW2 on October 29, 1944, he was 20 years old.  He was a member of the South Saskatchewan Regiment in the Canadian Army. He was the Son of Clarence and Effie May Burkholder of Breslau.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Councillor Bauman Flip Flops Sells Parkland

This post will be a short one but a necessary one.  It will be short because if I continue to write I will most likely say something I may regret and this is the internet.

Tonight, October 6, 2015 I attended another council meeting.  This meeting by the agenda was supposed to be directing staff on what to do based on last weeks decision by council to not move ahead with the school plan.  However, it turns out that last weeks vote was in a Committee of the Whole meeting which, as I have just learned, is pointless and a waste of everyone's time.  The actual vote on the project occurred this evening.

There were 11 delegations registered to speak in support of the project which most of us through was the purpose of last weeks meeting.  However, I look back on it now and Mayor Shantz wanted to postpone the vote to tonight but Councillor Bauman felt that since so many people came out they should vote that evening.  In that vote Bauman rejected the school proposal.  I have realized that this was a challenge call out to the other side to realize that they may lose.  The other sided responded with 11 delegations.  Most of these delegations all had valid points and spoke passionately about the topic.  Others, unfortunately, felt the need to make up numbers and try to persuade councillors with seriously skewed and outright false facts.  I mean making up a number like $1 000 000 in extra costs if they don't build now is a mind boggling publicity stunt.

In the end Councillor Bauman asked the vote be revisited and he passionately stated his new position in support of the project.  This flip flop by Bauman and the expected support by Councillor Hahn left the council 3-2 in support (4-2 if you include the Mayors vote).

If Bauman would have voted yes last week providing a 3-2 support of the project I would have been disappointed but I would have accepted the outcome as the most inevitable.  This week I was emotionally charged by the new challenge ahead of me an the numerous volunteers that came forward to me this week.  We had an opportunity to come together and work on projects and actually build our community.  After this engaging week, watching Bauman flip flop was devastating.

Congrats everyone you will get a new school, despite the fact that you chose to live in Breslau knowing that your preferred school was an hour bus ride away.  I chose to live in Breslau to back onto a park, but I guess your school board has more money then my township.

What I feel is the biggest loss to Woolwich is the volunteers that came together to make something our of our park.  They are devastated and feel they have been shot in the back.  The businesses that have donated money in the past have now said they won't donate a dime.  I am interested to see the magic for how far this 1.75 million will go.  Once they use that up, that's it.

I am going to stop now.  Good night Breslau and good luck, because that picture at the top of this post, is just a memory.