Maple Lane Park holds first annual fundraiser BBQ

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From left are Maple Lane Park owners Gord and Annette Sharp, Norm Belanger, president of the Maple Lane Park residents committee, and Pat and Jerome Henry, members of the committee and Maple Lane Park residents. Over 30 people came out to Maple Lane Park Sunday for a day of games, prizes and a barbecue.
By Dan Rankin

A growing community on the west side of St. Marys celebrated the August long weekend with games and a barbecue Sunday while raising money for the St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation in what organizers hope will become an annual tradition. Through donations and a silent auction, Maple Lane Park residents and other attendees raised $300 Sunday, but they estimate some subsequent additional funding will push their total as high as $700.
Norm Belanger, president of the Maple Lane Park residents committee said downtown businesses were very generous in donating gifts for the day, which began around 1:30 pm Sunday, including silent auction and door prize items. “We had some really good support from downtown,” Belanger said. “Hopefully it will grow and get better and better every year.”
That the inhabitants of the 25 residential units in Maple Lane Park wanted to hold a larger event this summer is another signal that the community is growing. In 2012, a New Horizons grant for seniors helped expand the activity room of the Maple Lane Park Centre (Building #30 at 25 Thames Road) and made possible the installation of two bathrooms, including a wheelchair accessible bathroom. “We did a lot of improvements in here and since then we’ve had a lot more activities going on here,” Belanger said. “They’re open to anybody around town.”
That includes indoor walking exercises Tuesday mornings at 9:00 am, a coffee and refreshment hour Wednesday mornings followed by euchre, $10 dinners provided by the Friendship Centre on the First Wednesday of every month, free Movie Nights beginning at 7:00 pm on the third Friday of every month, and free open games nights on the second Saturday of every month. “Mostly the guys like to play euchre, but we’ve also got a dartboard and shuffleboard,” he said. “One of our members also teaches scrap-booking, and there’s a monthly pot luck. There are plans to have a canasta day this fall.”
Belanger’s eyes light up when discussing further plans for the centre, which include installing a new TV that would permit residents to play game like Wii Bowling, as well as connect to Skype to let them reach out to other seniors communities in the area or as far away as Florida where some Maple Lane Park residents spend the winter.
Further plans include the addition of more residential units and building a specialized maintenance building, which will allow the centre to take over the current adjoining garage and maintenance facility to transform it into a games room. “We’d move the card tables, shuffleboard and dart board over there and maybe put in a pool table,” he said. “That would be just games over there and then the current space here we could use for meetings or conferences.”
Mayor Al Strathdee and his wife Gloria, who were at the park’s Christmas party in December, attended the barbecue Sunday afternoon. “They’re growing and they’re getting involved in the community,” Mayor Strathdee said. “Now they’re trying to raise some money for the hospital too, which always helps. It’s very good for the town.”
For more information about Maple Lane Park visit their website MapleLanePark.ca, call Belanger at 226-661-0142 or email him at ncobelanger@rogers.com.