TRENTON – The potential plans for TreeGo at Trenton Park are progressing, but not without question.
Parks and recreation co-ordinator Martin Bates stands in the possible location for a TreeGo aerial ropes course at Trenton Park. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS
Scott Cameron, a 58-year-old Trenton taxpayer, is voicing concern about the lack of revenue the town will be receiving from the venture if it goes through.
“I just think it’s a bad business deal for the town.”
Cameron was one of approximately 20 people at a public meeting held on Sept. 24 discussing the idea.
He said he was surprised to learn the owner wouldn’t be paying the park to use the land.
The 10-year lease agreement would allow TreeGo to operate by offering free passes to the town to use at their discretion.
They would cover their own costs in terms of building the ropes course.
Martin Bates, parks and recreation coordinator, said they’re looking at the bigger picture.
Although they’re not reaping a lot of direct financial benefits, he expects it to improve the attractiveness of the town and the county.
“Things like this add to the quality of life in Pictou County.”
He says adding an outdoor aerial course like this was within the plans drawn up in 2012 for the park.
This is one more thing they’re doing to improve the park. They already completed work on the trails.
They also have plans in place for a new playground and campground.
However, those improvements cost a lot of money, Bates said.
Although TreeGo won’t bring in the money to pay for them, he thinks it’s a good idea to have it in place beforehand.
“What we’re after is getting traffic through the park.”
With the course on site, use of the canteen and the pool would probably increase, he said, and convenience stores in town could receive more traffic.
The restaurant and hotel industries in the county would flourish too.
The benefits go beyond the town’s wallet. It provides an outdoor recreation activity for everyone, Bates said.
“It gets kids outside,” he said, adding that it would decrease indoor “screen time.”
There are environmental bonuses as well, Bates said. Exposing young generations to the outdoors increases appreciation for nature and makes it more likely that they’ll care about the impact they leave.
Damage to the park through building would be minimal. A few trees may need to be removed, but most would not be affected.
An arborist would come in every year for an inspection to make sure the trees weren’t being damaged, and could adjust a few things to give the trees room to grow if needed.
Cameron said he doesn’t oppose the ropes course itself. He simply has concerns about how it’s being implemented.
“My intent is not to prevent this guy from coming in.”
The town is giving away its assets without receiving anything in return, he said.
“What is the benefit to the town?”
He’s concerned tourist funds would be sent elsewhere. As people can’t yet camp in the park when they visit, it means Trenton isn’t seeing the added revenue.
“It’s putting the cart before the horse,” he suggested.
At the public meeting, he was the only one to voice opposition, but he was adamant that he doesn’t wish to start trouble. He said he just wants to make sure Trenton residents know all the details.
Designers from Montreal visited the park over the weekend to map out the area and begin creating an idea for the course.
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda