The board of the Centre Communautaire de Lavigne Community Centre (CCL) were ecstatic last week when it was finally announced that plans to augment the park/playground in Lavigne were going to proceed. Jérôme Courchesne, Secretary of the CCL, was bubbling over with enthusiasm at the long-awaited news. “We received the funds from our community partners and local businesses. We got a donation of $30K from Centre Social et Culturel de Lavigne (CSCL) to complete the outdoor exercise stations at the park…”. This is added to a $20K donation from the Caisse Alliance and a grant for $5K from Economic Partners Sudbury East-West Nipissing Inc., making the project feasible.
“A few years ago the community banded together and built the building for the ice rink. After the development of the waterfront park was completed, the board of directors of the CCL started fundraising and planning for a playground. Over the years it evolved along with the successive boards that followed suit. We took the baton and continued to relay with that project,” Courchesne explains. In 2021 the board applied for funding but were denied because of the number of communities applying for the same funding. But they assiduously maintained their plan to build the playground and add some exercise stations, to convert it into a multi-use park, a one-stop recreation station everyone could use. It seems this will be a unique park in all of West Nipissing because of the evolving plans.
Jérôme Courchesne continues, “Last year about this time we received news that the municipality had approved the budget for building the playground, but unfortunately there weren’t more funds available for the outdoor exercise. We were ecstatic that we were getting a playground, it’s something big for Lavigne. There are a lot of new families in the area, and a lot of people who grew up in the area moving back with families of their own. A few boards before us recognized that need.”
Lavigne has been without a playground for 20 years. “We had an older playground but with the school closure in 2002 they ripped the playground apart on the school yard. Since 2002 we didn’t have any playground. When we knew the municipality was assisting the CCL with the playground, we decided to stay positive… We continued fundraising. …That led to the massive donations we received this week.”
He adds that he’s still pinching himself and it was hard for his board to keep it quiet. “It was kind of hard for us because we were all excited for the last few weeks. But once we publicized this, we knew it would be well received in the community; we need something for the kids but we also need something for everyone. We kept that vision, the multi-use park vision, and I’m happy to say we officially placed the order this week and the outdoor fitness stations are going to be in the works and installed by the end of the summer!”
There are a total of 6 outdoor fitness stations that will be installed. They will include an air walker, an upright bike, a recumbent bike, a cross-country skier, a stair climber, and an accessible vertical press for the less mobile. “Our intention was to work with the vision to have something for everyone, we wanted the park to answer to the needs of the community. We have a lot of young families, and we have a lot of people who are retired and have moved to the area so we wanted something intergenerational – mom and pop could do some exercise while watching their kids… We added an accessible vertical press because we realized not everyone has the same mobility, so we wanted something to be fully accessible, so if dad or mom is in a wheelchair due to health issues, even then they can participate at the park as well.”