For some time I have been contemplating the heartfelt interest of many Flin Flon area residents to return and preserve the Phantom Lake of old.
Recently The Reminderpublished an article on an unsuccessful past proposal for a shared recreational complex at Phantom Lake. Now I read of the need for serious repairs to the Aqua Centre and wonder about the aging Whitney Forum given this past winter’s roof failure.
Last week I read about a proposal from Greg East that we pool our resources from our local communities to strengthen and stretch the recreational moneys of our region. This idea is worthy of serious consideration.
In this vein, I would like to address the people of our communities and ask that we revisit the recreational complex at Phantom Lake with a twist.
I know times are tough (aren’t they always?) and that provincial governments seek to balance budgets by curtailing services. However, whether my idea is unique or a twist on many ideas, I would like our community to get behind an outcry for recreational support and to do so collectively.
Creativity will provide a remedy to the unwillingness of Manitoba to fund a centre not in Manitoba, the unwillingness of Saskatchewan to fund services in the region that considers our border town population rather than just the Saskatchewan side population, and serves the vision of many area residents.
Phantom Lake has long been viewed by area residents as a shared space. The notion of revamping, of a shared recreation complex, the golf club, all speak to this notion of shared ownership.
Why not make it official? Approach the two provincial governments with a proposal to create the acreage around Phantom Lake as shared property.
This would be somewhat like a peace garden, which would be owned dually by Manitoba and Saskatchewan. As such, any costs of recreational space, of shared facilities, of service costs, would be shared between the two provincial governments and the three local communities as appropriate. Maybe even Cranberry Portage would share a stake.
In our not-too-distant future, we will need to expand our long-term care capacity.This area could house future seniors’ condos, assisted living facilities and future long-term care.
It could also house recreation facilities, a daycare and perhaps the future North Central Canada Centre of Arts and Environment that has been talked about.
While I would be saddened to lose any blueberry hills, the community benefits would more than offset the inconvenience of travelling further for our berry-picking pleasure.
There are so many potential benefits to this kind of shared plan and shared space that I truly hope this suggestion will get some traction with area residents and politicians so that a groundswell of enthusiasm might result in solutions that will truly unite us in a satisfactory outcome.