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Otter Lake unveils bright future for RA grounds

A digital rendering of what the Otter Lake Splash pad will look like.

Brett Thoms
Otter Lake May 13, 2023
The Municipality of Otter Lake held a public meeting to reveal their plans for a splash pad and numerous other upgrades to the Otter Lake Recreation Association(RA) grounds at the Raymond Johnston Community Centre last Saturday.
The event included the presentation of cheques from community groups for the revamping of the RA grounds and an overview of how the municipalitys plans to go about the work.
“Today is the culmination of an entire communitys hard work and dedication to making our village a little bit nicer of a place to visit,” said Mayor Terry Lafleur during his opening remarks on the announcement.
Lafleur detailed that the municipality’s plan to upgrade the RA grounds and surrounding area includes adding paved entrances, more parking areas with defined routes, boat dock access to the grounds, butterfly gardens, a roof for the outdoor skating rink, an extension to the walking trail, a gazebo with seating near the lake, vendor stalls for artisans, a multi-use municipal building that could potentially house a library and museum, a possible spot for a CPE daycare spot pending government approval, and finally, a splash pad.
Lafleur explained all these changes would be implemented over the next five years, and cost an estimated $3 million in total, though emphasized that these were just estimates. Lafleur also explained that the funding for the various projects would largely be sourced from government grants and fundraising efforts from community groups, with the municipality only contributing to things extending the water line into the RA grounds.
“We have phases that we would like to do year over year, so that we can budget for and work getting grant money along with the RA and different committees. We’re (the municipality) not going to spend $3 million,” joked Lafleur.
The event also included the presentation of two cheques for the construction of the splash pad, which is planned to be finished by the end of this summer.
“The RA approached the municipality about their plans and desire to install a splash pad and started fundraising to make it happen,” Lafleur explained. “Council was very supportive of this project and applied for and received an FRR two grant funding for the sum of $104,000 through the MRC towards the splash pad project. With estimates for the construction of the pad between $140,000 and $150,000, the RA stepped up and agreed to raise an additional $40,000 as soon as possible and, of course, once again the members of the community stepped up and created the Bumblebee Committee to help fundraise.”
In total, the RA raised $40,000 for the project and the Bumblebee Committee raised $10,390.
“You guys wanted it, you guys got it,” said Otter Lake RA President Shane Presley, adding that the amount they managed to raise wouldn’t have been possible without all the community support.
Along with the money raised for the splash pad between the FRR and donations, the municipality also received a $89,000 revitalization grant coming from the MRC and another $80,000 donation from a private benefactor, which will also allow much of the planned paving work to be done this summer, according to Lafleur.
“I can say that in my years of living in the Pontiac, I have never witnessed one community raising so much money. It’s amazing,” said Warden Toller, who was present at the meeting.
The RA’s next fundraising event will be the New Old Bikers Motorcycle Club bike day on June 10. The Bumblebee Committee is also holding a Scavenger Hunt on June 10, which will start at the Raymond Johnston Community Centre. More details can be found on the Otter Lake Bumblebee Committee Facebook page.
Presley said the RA’s fundraising efforts will now be directed at the roof for the outdoor skating rink.
“None of this would have been possible without donations and volunteers. It was donations and volunteers that built the baseball field and then Raymond Johnston Community Centre and, of course, the tradition continues,” said Lafleur about the committee efforts.

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