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City gets to work on Charlie Lachapelle-Smith's Finn Hill vision

Year-round washrooms seem to be first on the improvement list

Sorry, Charlie. One thing you're going to learn about City Hall is that it can take a while to make things happen there!

We know it's been almost four months since you wrote to Mayor Provenzano about your ideas for Finn Hill.

Here at SooToday, we want you to know that we're tracking your vision as it's being discussed around the Ronald A. Irwin Civic Centre.

This week, they were talking about your concepts at the parks and recreation advisory committee.

Yes, that's the committee that took years and years and years to make up its mind when people wanted a dog park.

And it talked on and on – almost forever – when kids wanted to play on Porter, the little steam engine at Bellevue Park.

In the end, all they did was set up an ugly fence to keep kids away.

But more recently, that committee seems to moving a lot faster and doing cooler stuff.

Last year, we suspect they set a world speed-skating record setting up their super-popular skating trail at Clergue Park.

You seem to have a knack for getting stuff done, Charlie, and we want you to know that serious consideration is being given to the ideas you mentioned to the mayor.

You're going to be getting a call this week from Dean Greenwood.

He's a nice, very kind man – a grandfather, actually – and he's kind of a big deal among the people responsible for our city parks.

Mr. Greenwood chairs the parks and recreation advisory commitee and he'll brief you up to date on all the stuff that's been happening with your Finn Hill ideas.

Apparently they've set up a Finn Hill improvements subcommittee and that group has already had its first meeting.

The subcommittee will be meeting again later this month.

"I guess at this point, we've gathered together the information," said Brent Lamming, the city's director of community services.

Mr. Lamming is another really important person at City Hall and you know that when he's involved in something, it's definitely going to happen in a big, cool way.

He and his staff have been looking at what's already at Finn Hill and counting up how much it might cost to add other things.

"I think there's four or five key ideas that could be part of the Finn Hill project in general," Mr. Lamming told us.

"Taking into consideration the letter that we got from Charlie, I think it's important that we reach out to Charlie, the young gentleman who submitted the letter," he said.

"We have taken his letter to heart. We're looking at it closely."

The Finn Hill improvements subcommittee is going to make recommendations next month to the parks and recreation committee.

We can tell you that the thing we're hearing most about is building a year-round washroom next summer at Finn Hill, where kids could get a drink of water before going tobogganning on the hill.

"That's something that's really key for that site, I think," said Mr. Lamming.

Robert Carricato, a member of the parks and recreation advisory committee, was hinting this week that everyone should also look at your idea of a tow line.

They're hustling to put together some ideas for City Council's budget deliberations for 2021.

We know all this sounds really complicated, but they're spending tax dollars and City Hall doesn't like to rush to make sure they're doing it right.

Most of any changes that happen won't be done until next summer, but we are hearing they've been able to make some improvements, including better lighting, that you'll see when you go back to Finn Hill this winter.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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