Members of the Beausoleil First Nation plan to return to Springwater park this spring. Stan Howe
Laurie Watt in the Barrie Advance reports: MNR talks with native group to re-open Springwater Park
The Ministry of Natural Resources is talking with the Beausoleil First Nation about reopening Springwater Provincial Park as a pair of warring citizens’ groups wait to hear if they’ll be included.
But while the ministry is “pleased to be working with” Beausoleil, the ministry isn’t yet ready to release details on what’s being discussed, ministry spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski said.
As partnership talks began just before Christmas, Camp Nibi — founded by a group led by Elizabeth Brass Elson as an outreach and healing initiative — packed up and left for the winter. Brass Elson plans to restart the group’s activities and ceremonies in the park this spring, although snow still covers the ground in the 193-hectare park that opened in 1927 and was shuttered by the ministry a year ago.
However, things are getting confusing. There are three community groups, two of them (#1 and #2) both claiming control of over $100,000 in community donations while the the third, is waiting for the MNR/Camp Nibi discussions to be completed.
- Mr. Ian Taylor, Friends of Springwater Park,
- Mr. Jack Garner, Springwater Park Foundation who recently seems to have split off from #1, and
- Mr. Les Stewart and the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition. SPCC split from #1 in Oct 2012.
The SPCC and Advisory Board: Our experience shows it is premature and can be potentially very problematic to raise funds or pledges before the management and ownership issues were first sorted out by between the more senior levels (ie. MNR and First Nations).
The SPCC has sought a sustainable business model.
In our opinion, sustainability can only come primarily from long-term, government-underwritten, publicly-funded budgets which may arise from aboriginal and non-aboriginal sources.
As a simple sign of encouragement toward that partnership, we asked our municipality (Springwater Township) to budget some 2014 $ for the park’s re-opening. Township Council responded generously by providing an allocation of $10,000 which will only be spent if an agreement is reached. Public money does not run nearly as “hot and cold” as does individual or corporate donations do.
Summary: Agreement first (resources will be included in that plan anyway.) Then onto further public and private funding.