We are one community meeting and one council meeting away from a large community park!
On June 15th, Council voted to proceed with the presentation made by Town Staff announcing the Wagon Wheel Ranch as the new site for our official community park. This is really an amazing and exciting turn of events as the total area for park development is over 140 beautiful acres (Approx. 5 acres of actual park and approx. 137 acres for bike and hiking trails). The Town staff have gone above and beyond for us with extensive and sometimes nail biting negotiations with the owners of three different properties. Throw a recession into the middle of negotiations and at times it seemed like we were never going to achieve our goal of a community park. The Town Staff has spectacular plans for this location which will be introduced in a community meeting to be held in July (date to be announced).
Why the Wagon Wheel Ranch Location?
We can go through the whole process as to how it best fits the criteria provided by the majority of residents in numerous Park meetings but in the end, “timing” was the deciding factor. The Coultice Family, owners of the Wagon Wheel Ranch property, were the first owners to recognize that because of its unique location on the Oak-Ridges moraine, there was absolutely no hope of ever developing this property i.e. a subdivision. So, how could this property be made to work for everyone and at no land cost to the taxpayer? An ingenious plan was developed to sell land to adjacent residents at a low cost to enable them to almost double their back yards. This is a tremendous opportunity for the neighbouring residents and if you haven’t taken advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity we would encourage you to talk to your bank and do whatever it takes. This is a tremendous, tax-free opportunity to increase the value of your property substantially in the future. The Coultice Family has been given permission to sever a small number of Estate lots on the Tenth Line which will not impact the Lake area at all. In return, the Town receives a 147 acre gift to develop as parkland. It’s a WIN! WIN! WIN! situation for everyone.
What happens with the Glendale and Water Tower Properties?
This is even more exciting. Mayor Emmerson has indicated that it will just take time for the owners to realize that their properties can never be developed. He is willing to discuss what can reasonably and creatively be done to make a deal and you’ve seen how creative the Wagon Wheel Ranch solution was. Mayor Emmerson has also said it’s not that unreasonable that sometime down the road the residents of Musselman’s Lake will have not only a community park but two additional green spaces which would be absolutely phenomenal.
Residents very positive about proceeding with park plans at the council meeting June 15th
Members of the MLRA Executive, Vice President Jane Grinnell, Past President Christine Laing, and Science Committee Chairperson Dr. Brian Laing spoke very eloquently on behalf of residents on the need for a community park and the need to proceed post haste with this recommendation by Town Staff. They also expressed their thanks for all the hard work of Town Staff, Mayor and Council for moving this project forward and developing such a solid park plan. Gratitude was expressed to Councillor Phil Bannon who, ever since being elected, has never wavered on his lofty goal of bringing a community park to Musselman’s Lake.
Probably what was most gratifying was that even residents who stated the Wagon Wheel Ranch was not their first choice were able to get past the location issue and say now is the time to proceed with the park plan. All residents agreed this park is long overdue and want to get on with making it happen.
The Community Park Meetings
There will be a community/residents meeting in July. Time, place and location of the meeting to be announced at a later date. At this meeting, the Town Staff will be presenting their plans and inviting your input. The Staff will explain why certain things have been done, will listen to resident suggestions and talk about the feasibility of any changes. Assuming the meeting is held in a spirit of goodwill and compromise, Council will vote on August 17th to proceed with the new park plans.
Last but not least – A Big Thank-You!!!
On behalf of the MLRA, we would like to thank Andrew McNeely and the Town Staff who worked so diligently to put this proposal together. We would also like to thank the Mayor and Council who voted to proceed to the next planning phase of the park – conducting a community meeting before the final vote on August 17th. We would especially like to thank our Councillor, Phil Bannon, who has worked tirelessly and attended an endless number of meetings in order to get the residents of Musselman’s Lake a community park.
And finally thank you to all the residents who buried their differences and united in saying NOW IS THE TIME FOR A COMMUNITY PARK!!!