Support sought for health, recreation complex proposal

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

MINDEMOYA—Central Manitoulin municipal council has given its approval in principle, to a health-recreation complex proposal, being spearheaded by licenced dietician Petra Wall of Spring Bay.

“This was brought forward by our EDO (economic development officer) at our Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting, for a satellite similar to the YMCA,” said councillor Bev Pearson-Trainor at a council meeting earlier this month. The endeavour is not ready to go forward, but a request has been made for us to support the proposal in principle.”

“This medical-recreation complex for the Island has been a dream of mine since the 1990s, when the idea was brought up by a resident of the Island and an architect from Sudbury, for a smaller version of the YMCA,” explained Ms. Wall. “Despite some support to the idea, the proposal unfortunately did not come to fruition.”

Ms. Walls’ idea is for a multi-purpose medical-recreational facility, with a room set up for people undergoing cardio-rehab. The facility would be linked with the Sudbury hospital, preventing patients from having to travel to Sudbury obtain these services. There would also be a therapeutic hot tub for local patients to use, swimming lanes for young people and adults, space for an adult centre, a licenced daycare for children, access to computers, a running/walking track and room for a doctor’s office.

“What we are looking at is something similar to the YMCA in Sudbury, but much smaller,” Ms. Wall said. “For instance only swimming lanes opposed to an Olympic sized pool, and small therapeutic pools for those patients people with rheumatic arthritis and individuals undertaking rehabilitation,” Ms. Wall said.

“This is a dream of mine,” continued Ms. Wall, adding that she would like to see the facility located somewhere in the middle of the Island, such as Mindemoya or M’Chigeeng. She envisions those using the facility could be required to pay user fee to bring in revenues for the complex (which would be a non-profit facility).

“We would like to make it accessible to everyone on the Island,” she said, pointing out years ago FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) had indicated they would be interested in looking at having a feasibility study done and could possibly be contacted again.

“We would need everyone on our side for this idea to work,” said Ms. Wall. “What we would like to do first is align all the First Nations and municipalities on this issue. We would be proposing something that is maybe 30 percent the size of the YMCA facility in Sudbury.”

In order for the project to go forward, Ms. Wall relayed to council that “everyone would have to be onside.”

“It would need to be something that everyone would benefit from and if there is enough interest, maybe we could get a feasibility study funded,” concluded Ms. Hall. “I’m hoping to get a small-preliminary study done and then look at a feasibility study. We need something like this on Manitoulin Island, but we need island wide support.”