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LETTER: Let's preserve park space for its therapeutic benefits

'We live in anxious times. Open, untouched protected park space is an important resource in these times,' says city resident
This area along the Lakeshore Drive in Barrie is the location for the city's multi-use turf field for youth sports.

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I am writing to express my concern about the proposed development of a multi-use sports field and Sea Cadets parade ground at the South Shore Park near downtown Barrie. I urge the mayor and council to reconsider the location for a new sports field and parade ground.

The public deserves to be consulted about the use of this important green space beside the lake. The public deserves a transparent, democratic process to come to a balanced decision for all involved. We do not need to be told of a decision that has been passed without this due process.

I am a Barrie resident, taxpayer, voter, health-care professional, grandmother and more. I speak for the land and life that this park space supports, from humans to birds, trees, small animals, insects.

As a health-care professional, I understand the therapeutic benefits of forested green spaces. Walking/resting in treed spaces has been shown to increase immune systems, and decrease anxiety responses in the individual. Health-care teams give “green prescriptions” as part an exercise and home programs, for the management of pain symptoms of body and spirit.

We live in anxious times. Open, untouched protected park space is an important resource in these times.

Ancestors worked hard with the city of Barrie to secure this resource for all Barrie residents into the future. I and other professional colleagues have used this accessible parkland space for the calming benefits of a relaxation response and the pain relief the space offers.

This is a natural therapy that is for all in Barrie and their visitors.

Let’s protect what we have in green space and find a new good location for the sports field. Let this be a win-win.
Janet McFarland