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MacKenzie Beach park to get some TLC this summer

'We've had this structure there for three decades or more,' says township staffer in explaining the need for the upgrades

MacKenzie Beach is getting new washrooms and is set to receive a picnic shelter soon. 

This week, Tay Township council approved staff-recommended plans for a new, larger washroom at the beach.

A committee formed by council that included community members looked at options of how to upgrade the structures in the park located on Bergie Crescent.

"We've had this structure there for three decades or more," said Peter Dance, director of public works. "It doesn’t meet accessibility standards and doesn’t have power and has some maintenance challenges."

Documents show that in its strategic plan exercise last year, the township identified the need to allocate funding and resources to maintain local parks and public spaces in an appealing and consistent manner to encourage community usage as a priority.

Council had identified in its 2019 budget some money to focus on the parking lot and play structure improvement as well as building a picnic shelter and walkways, said Dance.

"We also did some community-based fundraising through a golf tournament and raised just under $25,000," he said. That brought the total funds allocated to $107,000.

Last year, the play equipment was upgraded. The parking lot is waiting to be completed, said Dance, and next on the list are the upgraded washrooms and the construction of a picnic shelter.

At a previous meeting, staff presented a report to council recommending that the structure be upgraded to resemble the one already present at the Albert Street Parkette. 

The option recommended by staff would allow for a two-stall, fully accessible unisex washroom and service room, Dance said. 

The report also said that this option would be best suited for the current and future needs of MacKenzie Beach Park.

"There aren't a lot of savings when you’ve putting in a new building," Dance said. "This way, if we have to close one of them, because it needs to be cleaned or serviced, there’s still the other side that can operate. It isn’t horribly busy there, but it does give you some flexibility for usage."  

The price tag for the washroom will be $150,000, an amount that council included in its 2020 budget. With council's approval now, staff will put out a request for proposals to hire a contractor to begin the project.

Dance said he doesn't expect any disruption in park usage while the construction is happening.

"Any of our handsmiths really aren’t going to be much of an interruption," he said. "If the washroom building happens during park season, we’ll get port-a-potties out there."