On March 2nd, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) announced they would be taking back control of Farran Park in Ingleside from the township of South Stormont when the lease expires at the end of the month.
On March 9th, South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis told The Leader the decision came as a surprise and a disappointment. “Residents have expressed disappointment too,” he added.
“St. Lawrence told us last week that they were going to take over the park,” said McGillis. “We were upset, but there’s nothing we could have done about it.”
“We’ve done everything we could. Nobody can say we didn’t try.”
McGillis referred to several attempts at reaching an affordable lease agreement with SLPC who, as McGillis pointed out, has a new procurement policy that doesn’t allow for long-term leases. “There wasn’t much in the way of negotiations,” he said.
A feeling of loss for the township is palpable when speaking with McGillis. “There’s an untapped resource here,” lamented McGillis. “The potential that we’re losing out on is significant.”
“There’s a lot of upset local residents that use the park. They felt it was more intimate with our own municipality running this park.”
During the March 9th discussion, disappointment remained at the forefront for McGillis. However, he also recognized the need for cooperation between South Stormont and SLPC saying, “their door is open and ours is too.”
“They assured us everything is going to run the status quo. Hopefully they’ll hire the same people.”
“They have a lot of ideas,” he continued. “Hopefully they’ll come to the conclusion of doing what they’ve said.”
And, “hopefully it works out in the long run for the betterment of the community.”
South Stormont has been responsible for the operation of Farran Park since July of 1990. As reported in the October 10, 1990 edition of The Leader, the park had been closed by SLPC due to “cost-cutting measures.”
Following a July invitation for bids on five of their parks, SLPC granted a long-term lease for Farran Park to South Stormont.