Renew commitment to recreation: EOHU

Eastern Ontario Health Unit Health Promotion Specialist Chantal Lalonde, speaking with Cornwall city council on Feb. 9, 2015. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The regional health unit is making another push to have the city continue its plan to make Cornwall a more healthy community.

Eastern Ontario Health Unit Health Promotion Specialist Chantal Lalonde told council Monday night that the country has a dismal grade on health and wellness of D-.

“Cornwall is not unique when we talk about this…we are at the higher end,” Lalonde said.

In Ontario, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and cancer account for 60 per cent of all deaths, according to Statistics Canada.

Lalonde says the “continued and sustained investment” in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is the right way to go. “(You need to) maintain recreation infrastructure so we don’t go into a recreation deficit,” Lalonde said.

She says access to recreation should be made a priority while addressing barriers across the board and making programs more accessible.

“The bottom line is, everyone has a right to recreation in our community.”

Lalonde told council recreation is a “sound investment” with every dollar invested brings back $11 in health savings and productivity.

“A healthy community…is a vibrant community.”

Coun. Bernadette Clement told Lalonde the “timing is interesting because we are in budget discussions. There is an implementation plan (of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan) and those that go along with that.”

When asked about Cornwall’s rating Lalonde said “they are probably comparable – we are probably a D. We would rate a little bit higher in some respects…we have a lot of parks.”

“That D grade really irks me a little,” Coun. Carilyne Hebert added.

Review every four years and in 2015 is a review year said recreation manager Christine Lefebvre take to recreation advisory committee.

Coun. Claude McIntosh theorizes the lack of physical activity is the symptom of a bigger problem. “Going home, texting all the time. We can build all the football fields, we are competing with social media.”

“I have more access now than I did when I was a kid,” Coun. David Murphy said referring to growing up when portions of Tollgate Road were rural and now taking his daughter to various areas of Cornwall.

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