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To the Mayor and Members of Owen Sound City Council,

My name is Bruce Stanners, I am a family physician in Owen Sound and I am also an avid walker. In my medical practice and personal life, I have come to appreciate the benefits of this simple activity that can improve a person’s physical and mental well-being. I believe that as we plan for our community’s future, we ought to continue promoting our natural features and spaces that encourage healthy living. It is for this reason I believe the City should not sell any portion of Stoney Orchard Park for new development.

What makes walking unique is how accessible it is for everyone. It is an activity I can recommend to patients to help them manage chronic illnesses like diabetes, or to help them manage depression. It is an exercise that doesn’t require membership or special equipment. It invites people out of their homes and to become a bigger part of the community we share. The system of trails in parks in Owen Sound has long encouraged us to explore other neighbourhoods. They are second to none in their beauty and they should be protected.

Though it will be argued that the piece of land in question is small, what is at issue here is whether the City is willing to sell our parks. There is no such thing as a small piece when it comes to what selling park space represents.

For those who live in the neighbourhood that includes a variety of single family homes, townhouses, and accessible and affordable housing, Stoney Orchard Park represents a chance for people to comfortably spend more time outdoors. As my wife and I have walked the trail, we’ve seen people of all abilities enjoying nature. The trail accommodates people who use walkers, wheelchairs or scooters. For those who wish to explore Owen Sound, the trail offers an exceptional perspective of our harbour, Georgian Bay and our city. It is near perfect for everyone, and certainly very much enjoyed by all. Development would alter the way the trail is accessed and its natural beauty.

Importantly, what we are experiencing as we continue to maintain physical distance from others is that with fewer options for outdoor activity, we all begin to crowd the same spaces. Stoney Orchard Park is no less important as an option than Harrison Park or Inglis Falls. The more places we can access, the more space we can safely maintain from others.

I implore Council, for the sake of our community who rely on you to make decisions to create a livable, safe and healthy environment, to go no further with this request.

Sincerely,

Bruce Stanners, MD, FCFP, Dip Sport Med


 

 

 

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