Commemorative benches and picnic tables at Eplett Park, 320 Waldie Avenue in Victoria Harbour.Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Members of Tay council aren’t taking the topic of park benches sitting lightly.

During the operation services portion of the recent Tay Township committee of the whole meeting, a request from Coun. Gerard LaChapelle pointed out an interesting observation regarding seating in the parks of Victoria Harbour.

“I was just curious that some consideration be given to review some of our parks; and I emphasize parks such as Waldie and Albert Street,” said LaChapelle, referring to Eplett Park at 320 Waldie Avenue and the park adjacent to the Albert Street dock. “The amount of benches that we are now allowing people to keep for remembrance.

“For instance at Waldie park, there’s 12 benches down there. When I walk every day through there, sometimes I think I’m walking through a cemetery,” said LaChapelle, adding: “Albert Street has eight or nine of them. To me, it looks like they are congested.”

LaChapelle said that he understood the intent behind memorial benches and picnic tables, decorated with commemorative plaques from residents, “but I think there’s overkill.”

“I would suggest that maybe we look at tree planting,” LaChapelle offered. “We’re aware that trees do add good character to it – buy a good eight- or nine-foot tree for a couple of hundred bucks.”

Deputy Mayor Barry Norris sought clarification in the meeting that the matter was regarding the commemorative program, which LaChapelle confirmed.

Said Norris: “I don’t have a problem with the number of benches, because you can sit on benches instead of trees. But that’s just my own opinion.”

MidlandToday visited the two parks and spoke with one cyclist who called the Albert Street park the best place to stop for a rest between Coldwater and Midland.

The traveller, sitting at a picnic table, said the table is more comfortable than the benches and shared his view that other cyclists also preferred sitting at the tables. However, children loved all the seating at the park as he had observed.

When informed of Norris’ words of sitting on benches instead of trees, the cyclist agreed. He stated that after decades of military service – including sitting in trees for extended period of time – benches were much more comfortable.

Information on the memorial bench and table program can be found on the parks, recreation and culture page of the Tay Township website.

Tay council meets for committee of the whole meetings every second Wednesday of the month, and regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Archives and livestreams of council meetings are available through the Tay Township YouTube channel.

By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 19, 2024 at 14:18

This item reprinted with permission from   Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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