If not a pool, surely a walking track
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | November 2, 2017|
Every day, more than 75 people make their way to the P & H Centre in Hanover to use the indoor walking track.
Sherri Walden, the director of parks, recreation and culture for the town, told us the track was part of a 2009-2010 arena reconstruction.
As the Township of Minden Hills begins planning to renovate its 45-year-old S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Community Centre, it’s places such as Hanover that provide fodder for a final design that best serves not only Minden Hills, but the County of Haliburton, as well.
And, while it appears an indoor swimming pool won’t make Minden’s final drawings this time around, we think an indoor walking track should. It’s cheaper than a pool.
We’re using Hanover as an example because its population was 7,490 when it did its work. Minden Hills’ population is just over 6,000 and growing so it’s more of an apples to apples comparison than Hunstville, the Municipality of Thames Centre or the Town of Essex, all of whom have walking tracks.
Walden didn’t have a price for the walking track. The overall renovation was $11 million, with $7 million from the feds and province, $2 million from the town and $1.8 million fundraised.
Minden Hills director of community services, Mark Coleman, has told us $1 million isn’t out of the question for a walking track.
Hanover track’s on the second level and includes elevations, as well as outdoor fitness type equipment. Walkers get a view of the outside thanks to large windows. They also look over the ice surface. It’s air conditioned in summer and heated in winter, and creates a safe and great walking atmosphere and experience.
At the time of planning for construction of the centre, Walden said they got a lot of feedback about a walking track. She added that the input since opening in 2010 has been very positive. Walden told us it’s used all day, from 6 a.m. There are regulars who use it daily. And, it’s well utilized by older adults as it’s even, cushioned, so easy on the joints, and free of ice and snow in winter. People pay whatever they can via donation. Walden told us the community not only uses it, but loves it.
We encourage the newly-created arena building task force to schedule a public meeting soon so the community can offer its suggestions and feedback on the possibility of a walking track for Minden.
In writing this, it doesn’t mean we’ve given up on a pool for Haliburton County. But, we realize that Minden Hills won’t be able to do this on its own. If a pool is ever to be built here, the county has to take the initiative. Municipal politicians have to ask themselves some tough questions. As we get more people and grow older, the question is do we need three arenas – ones in Haliburton, Minden and Wilberforce – for a population of 17,000 people? Or do we need one centre to house an indoor pool, and the other two arenas? Or maybe there’s another viable option. It’s a conversation we should be having.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.