Thursday, 31 December 2015

Preserving Breslau Memorial Park for the Children

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and you are enjoying a festive end to 2015.  It has been quite a year, a year that I will cherish whatever 2016 brings.  I have met some amazing people and I have begun to form a bond with the community I live in.  My last post was more than a month and a half ago; I was feeling quite discouraged as I attended a variety of council meetings and felt that the newest portion of Breslau Memorial Park would be sold and there was nothing more I could do.  As we celebrate the end of 2015 there is suddenly a glimmer of hope.  To start things off I want to provide you a year in review summary of the events of 2015 pertaining to Breslau Memorial Park.

It is hard to believe all of that has happened, we have been along for quite a ride.  The Council meeting on January 12, 2016, will be your last chance to have your say about the Township selling a section of Breslau Memorial Park. Please come to the Council Meeting and let Council know that our parkland is not for sale.  We have had a year of meetings, press releases, media inquiries, official reports, arguments, and discussions.  We now fully understand what this project means to us now and to Breslau's future. In our ever-growing community, our parkland needs to be protected. Once it is sold we will never be able to get it back and we will lose control of what gets built on and around this area. Bringing the Jan.12th meeting to Breslau is courageous step by the township and a head-on challenge to those fighting for the park. Many have gone to council numerous of times stating that Breslau does not want this.  We have made it clear that Breslau can move forward without this deal and we will be better off for it.  We now ask you to show Council that our statements held meaning. The baton is now passed to you to demonstrate that Breslau does not want this, we need you to show your support and not only attend this meeting but also register as a delegate. This will not be an open mic information session, it will be a regular meeting of Council and certain procedures will be in place. If you would like to speak at this meeting you will need to register as a delegate.  Information below is taken from the township website:
Persons wishing to appear before a regular meeting of Council or Committee shall notify the Council and Information Services Department no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday preceding the date of the meeting. Generally, all delegations are heard at Committee meetings rather than Council meetings. A person may register to be listed as a delegation on the revised Council or Committee agenda no later than 12:00 noon on the day of the meeting, only if the delegation wishes to address Council or Committee regarding a current agenda item.
If you wish to include any handout or presentation materials as part of your presentation, or if you require the use of a laptop and/or projector for your presentation, please contact Council and Information Services no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday preceding the date of the meeting at 519-669-1647 ext. 6115 to advise staff of your requirements.
I am encouraging everyone to register and make your voice be heard. Delegations do not need to be long prepared speeches with an excellent punch line.  It can be as simple as, "Hello, my name is [name] and I am a resident of Breslau.  I [do / do not] support the sale of public parkland to the WCDSB for the purpose of building a school." If you would like to address Council please complete the Online Delegation Request Form or call 519-669-1647 ext. 6115 to register.

Personally, my goal is to have 100 delegates registered by January 7, 2016.  If you do not speak against this project by stating you are opposed, it will be interpreted as having no opinion. There has been much talk about the "silent majority" and what direction they will support. You need to attend this meeting and register your opinion as a delegation.  It is possible for Council to open the floor to unregistered delegations, but you cannot assume this will happen. Council has made a significant gesture by moving this meeting to Breslau, we must respond with our participation in significant numbers.

I would like to make clear that a new catholic elementary school will be built in Breslau even if Council chooses to not to sell our future.  When council voted against the project back on September 29, 2015.  The WCDSB immediately sent out a letter to the current students of St. Boniface, indicating that there were other options and they would be able to proceed with a new plan within 3-5 years.  This isn't about a new school, this is about Breslau's future after it grows into a city over the next 50 years.  Forests don't grow overnight and they don't grow through school buildings or asphalt playing surfaces. Right now Council has an opportunity to preserve this land when other lands are under used all around Breslau.  In the future, the pressure to build will only become more intense and large greenspace parks will be that much more valuable.

Something else to note is that during the Jan. 12 meeting there will also be discussion about changing the name of Breslau Memorial park, along with the other changes displayed in the table below:

Current Name Proposed New Name
Former Riverland Sales CenteThe Empire Room
Breslau Memorial ParkBreslau Memorial Park
(In memory of Private Donald Ralph Burkholder and all War Veterans)
Woolwich Township ArenaSt. Jacobs Arena
Woolwich Community CentreSt. Jacobs Lions Hall

Please consider registering as a delegate for the meeting on January 12, 2016.  We need your support and your involvement now more than ever before. I hope you have a fun and safe New Years eve.

Thank you!