BY SOUTHGREY STAFF –
“Good things are happening,” said Rob Adams, shortly after last night’s public forum hosted by Grey Highlands municipal council, the second such event in as many days.
The community hub was the topic for discussion and attendees listened to a range of speakers who painted a rosy picture of what’s to come over the next five to 10 years.
Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) Superintendent of Business Services and Treasurer Rob Cummings and Director of Education Alana Murray outlined plans for their accommodation review application to the Ontario Ministry of Education. They presented a positive argument for its acceptance, noting strong community partnerships with the Chapman's Ice Cream, municipality and local education, child care and wellness providers.
According to Cummings, the Ministry looks favourably on the establishment of stable and sustainable partnerships to meet the needs of ongoing capital costs. Within the application is a business plan which includes capital funding support for a public school, new child care spaces and mental health care facilities.
Al Madden, Executive Director of South East Grey Community Health Centre (SEGCHC) gave more definition to the idea of a community hub. Encompassing education, mental health and social services, it would have locations in Markdale and Dundalk. He also cited the existing partnership between SEGCHC and BWDSB as one which already successfully connects education, dieticians, nurse practitioners and care providers. These are the building blocks of what makes a community hub.
“I’m just a pretty moustache,” said Ashley Chapman, as he took the microphone, handing over credit to his wife, Lesya for 95 percent of their effort in acquiring stable partnerships for the plan. The Chapmans have offered $2 million with another $2 million coming from a local developer, both of whom are required to keep an arm’s length distance from the educational system itself.
Ashley promised the best community hub in the province touting a cradle-to-grave philosophy with a dedication to education and physical activity.
Proposed options for the location of the Markdale hub are the existing Beavercrest School and King Edward Park. A third less likely option was on property owned by the Chapmans which is currently not serviced by utilities.
Rob Adams returned to the mic to add that between 800 and 1,000 new homes are coming to Markdale over the next five years which makes the community hub crucial for the area.
The Municipality of Grey Highlands has provided $51,000 in funding to keep Beavercrest School open through the accommodation review process which is expected to wrap up before the end of 2017. More details of the proposed plan would come following an announcement later in the year.
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