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Weekly Independent Local News
Friday, April 12, 2024

Buckhorn playground officially open

BY VANESSA STARK


Buckhorn saw the opening of their first ever public playground last week at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Ode’Naang Park.

This project was started by the previous council in January 2022 and completed by the current council in December 2023.

Now complete, they playground features a variety of fun and diverse equipment including multiple slides, a scavenger hunt, a climbing wall, a miniature race car track, monkey bars, an accessible ramp and more. The playground equipment joins an array of benches, picnic tables, portable toilets and a kayak stand already in the park.

According to Rachel Stark, economic development and marketing coordinator for the Municipality of Trent Lakes, the Ode’Naang playground is located in the heart of the Buckhorn community, close to several local restaurants and shops. She said it features beautiful shoreline gardens and is situated next to John Street beach and offers a unique view of one of the busiest waterfront canals in Ontario, which is always bustling with boats in the summer, as well as breathtaking views of the lakeside.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony on April 4, Dylan Cosh, director of recreation and facilities said that up to 150, 000 boats pass through that location annually, making the Buckhorn Lock one of the busiest locks across Parks Canada’s Waterway network.

Cosh said, “We’re confident that this new playground will quickly become a cherished community hub. The completion of this playground is just the beginning for recreation, in Trent Lakes. In the coming years we’re dedicated to expanding recreation opportunities throughout the municipality.”

This project was made possible through both provincial and federal funding. The total cost of the playground, which offers accessible features such as a ramp, was $131,250.

Of that total, the province contributed $75,000 through the Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, while the federal contributed $56,250 towards the project through the Federal Development of Canada’s Community Revitalization Fund’s grant.

MPP for Peterborough-Kawartha, Dave Smith stated during the ceremony, “The playground itself may seem like such a very small thing but it actually builds so much more and probably the greatest part about it is it was done with what’s referred to as Universal Design. Meaning it is completely barrier free, it doesn’t matter what your challenge is. You get to be a kid and play on this playground and kudos to the organizing team that decided this was how they wanted to do it.”

Smith went on to say that, “Children are the future and if they see value in [the playground], if they have a good time here, if they build those memories, they’re going to want to stay here as they become adults and it stops that exodus of our youth out of communities like this.”

Though representatives from the federal government were not in attendance at the April 4 ceremony, Mayor Terry Lambshead was able to read greetings from The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

She stated in her greetings through Lambshead, “Congratulations on the grand opening of the Ode’Naang Park at the Buckhorn Waterfront. You have transformed this park into an inclusive accessible outdoor space for the community to gather. With this facility, new picnic tables and playground Ode’Naang Park has become the heart of the community and a place for all to enjoy. The government of Canada is pleased to have supported this project and the municipality of Trent Lakes with the investment of more than $56,000 which has helped revitalize this public space for local residents and visitors alike.”

Ode’Naang is an Ojibwa name meaning heart of the community. The park and new playground is located beside Mainstreet Bar and Grill on Lakehurst Road in Buckhorn.