One of the most interesting revelations of the campaign has been our evolution as a town. Our families are getting older and younger at the same time. Young and old alike have expressed concern about the viability of the amenities and institutions that make our community.
We are in a period of evolution here in Tecumseh. We've lost several schools in recent memory: St. Anne's High School several years ago and this year's closure of St. Gregory's school and Victoria Public School. These were core assets of our neighbourhoods and town fixtures for many years. It pains me that we're beginning to see abandoned buildings in our town, especially for homes. We're also seeing overcrowding at Tecumseh Vista School only a short time after it was opened. The School Board's decisions suggest that the population of Ward 1 is aging while the population of Ward 3 is getting younger, which, when combined with the reality that fewer adults of my age range are having children, is leading to a smaller school population.
This school consolidation is challenging with respect to planning and traffic issues. With schools further out of reach and outside of a reasonable walking distance, the congestion caused by the new reliance on travel by car to school results in weaving cars, hidden pedestrians, and diverted attention from drivers. While schools remain in the domain of your locally elected trustee, there are consequences to the Town of Tecumseh and its long term future from these decisions and it is a fair expectation that your elected officials from the town speak to this impact. Often missing from the discussion is that educational facilities also provide residents valuable access to recreational facilities, from tracks to soccer fields to playgrounds. Speaking close to home, the 35th Tecumseh Scout Group relies on the school gyms of Tecumseh to ensure that its programming can proceed.
There is no clear age differential when it comes to demand for recreational facilities, especially year-round ones. But demand is certainly there. This is where the oft-cited "Regional Cooperation" mantra comes into play and is where the rubber truly hits the road. For Tecumseh's population and ratio of residential to commercial/industrial taxpayers, I believe that the best opportunity to reach residents' expectations is in considering new recreation opportunities as a service that could be delivered with other municipal partners. With new facilities being constructed in Lakeshore and in East Windsor, I am open to securing partnerships with adjacent municipalities to secure resident rates and to making use of our transit system to reach those facilities.
One recreational commitment that I would support is taken from the Lakewood Park Master Plan. A splash pad is envisioned for that area, and based on reactions that I have witnessed so far, there is no doubt that such a facility will be well used, well loved and well appreciated. Splash pads are a good choice for municipalities, as they offer low maintenance, minimal staffing requirements, and provide a place to visit free-of-charge for residents to quickly and easily enjoy in the summertime heat. I will admit to some bias on this issue; I could have absolutely used it myself last Sunday when I visited the residents of Lesperance Road and it felt like we were destined to break heat records outside.
Tecumseh has performed well in selecting its projects over the year. I am absolutely delighted every time that I am near Town Hall at the Skate Park, for example, and seeing the enjoyment intertwined with community care and concern for the facility. Popular, well-used, and well-respected by users, it was a terrific investment to make. There is absolutely a demand for providing these activities and attributes that families will consider when looking for their future home.
This remains an area that I stand to be informed on, however. I would very much like to hear of your thoughts with respect to the kinds of recreation facilities that you would like to support in-town.