The recently released recreational survey of Fort Frances residents has provided many good recommendations to the council of Fort Frances.
The survey—distributed in the fall of 2004—had a good response from the community, and the citizens who voluntarily participated in forwarding their ideas and recommendations in the survey are to be commended.
The demographic breakdown of participants very much mirrors the Stats Canada demographics of our community. It shows that the aging population will require recreational opportunities to maintain their health and well being that presently are not available in Fort Frances.
The survey was positive in that it outlined opportunities for business as well as the community.
In addition, the community spoke out for the need of additional walking trails and bike trails throughout the community. Walking and biking have grown in popularity and more people are being charged by their doctors to take up these forms of exercise.
Several of the recommendations made by the task force can be implemented with minimum cost to the town. That is especially true of the walking routes and biking routes that could be created through the community with appropriate signage.
The recommendation that the town create a master list in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of recreational opportunities in and around the community is important. As the survey found, many residents were both unaware that some forms of recreation were available and also who they might contact to find out if such services were available.
The report recommended to council that a master plan for parks and recreation be created for the community. Such plans exist for roads, sewers, and water services. It is appropriate that a similar long-term plan be created for recreation in the community.
The most costly part of the recommendations came from an older section of the population who find the change rooms of the pool poor. The popularity of aquasizes has lead to overcrowding in the pool change rooms. The overflow now uses hockey dressing rooms and many indicated that they feel uncomfortable with the lack of privacy.
It is more so when they have suffered disfiguring surgery. Planning to expand those change rooms and to create privacy should begin immediately. The demand by Fort Frances’ older population will grow. They should be made to feel comfortable exercising and maintaining their health.