It may seem like just a little request, but it means a lot to the residents of Oxford Mills who have fond memories of the old gazebo that once stood at the centre of Maplewood park. That old wooden shelter, decorative and picturesque, had seen many and varied events in the life of the village before it was torn down as being unsafe. I remember very well when it was the stage for Canada Day music: you could just fit a trio on it, but bands were out of the question. Then it was the fish tank on Canada Day, with specially-designed boards around it featuring fish swimming, a treasure chest for youngsters celebrating Canada’s birthday.

But, if Council has its way, there’ll be no such treasure in Maplewood Park for Canada’s 150th next year. First of all, the Oxford Mills Community Association [OMCA] asked for $10,000 in the budget to build a new and better gazebo: one with electric power. Council said no. So, a local developer offered to help with the project, and OMCA went back to Council with a lower amount – just $5,000, the rest to come from the community.

The grinches said no again. Barb Tobin, that fervent supporter of the Community Association, the one who made sure OMCA lost control of Maplewood Hall, decided that more research needed to be done. “I think there needs to be more design build here and reflection of what type of gazebo is accessible and would serve the purposes”, she said, with her usual sharp and clear use of the language. Let’s have more design build, by all means, whatever that is, and let the well-paid people in the municipality contribute something too.

Six staff members, each earning more than $100,000 a year of our taxes, could easily donate a couple of hundred each. Giving something back to the community. Maybe the OPP could throw in a hundred or two from the $2 million we pay them every year? The NG Times will certainly add to the pot, and, in no time at all, we could have a new focus for the park. This heritage-rich beauty spot, once the municipal centre of Oxford-on-Rideau, and where community fairs have been held since before Confederation, deserves more than a simple “no” from our municipal leaders.

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