Cobourg Outdoor Fitness Park
A Community/Seniors Led Proposal
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” - Socrates
Welcome! This is a community-led, grass-roots initiative to install a new Outdoor Fitness Park in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. The goal is to promote health and well-being for our community, primarily for seniors but including adults and teenagers by providing free, public access to outdoor fitness equipment. We would like to see this equipment installed near Victoria Park or the marina area, close to the boardwalk and water. We are currently gathering support in the community for this initiative and need your signature or words of support.
Vision - Why An Outdoor Fitness Park?
The Town of Cobourg does not currently have any outdoor fitness equipment for its adult and seniors community also known as a "fitness playground". We would like to see equipment that is designed to be outdoors year-round to be installed at Cobourg's Victoria park for the free benefit of its citizens.
Examples of fitness parks, outdoor gyms, and/or senior’s playgrounds, is a concept that caught on in 2000s and is growing globally. If you do a Google search, you can find many examples of these installations all over the world. From China, England, Finland, Japan, Spain and even Canada boasts these installations. Barcelona alone has 300 senior playground installations.
Providing free access to fitness equipment in public areas would be a logical addition to Cobourg’s already gorgeous beachfront, and would not only benefit the town’s citizen’s by improving the health of our community, but could also help with tourism and attracting seniors and retirees to our community.
Pieces of equipment could be rolled out gradually and/or distributed throughout various areas that allow for easy access by walking, wheelchair, or car. The proximity to Cobourg’s beach boardwalk or kids playground would be ideal which provides space to expand with further equipment later on, and could beautifully complement the existing beachfront aesthetic.
This concept has already be enthusiastically welcomed by our community that has a petition of over 900 signatures and growing. The benefits to the community’s health and well-being are significant and adds to the character and value that this wonderful town already imbues.
We are judged as a society in how we care for the young and the old within our community. With the growing population of seniors in the past 10 years, we are only just beginning to feel the influx in which there will be a demand for more physical activities in our area. Providing quality, accessible fitness installations in Cobourg would be a great community-building initiative that also helps to promote the fitness and well-being of its citizens.
Updates and News
Visiting this web-site from time-to-time is the best way of keeping informed!
Please let others know!
May, 2018 - An Adult Fitness Park is now included in Cobourg, Ontario’s “Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Design Plan”.
With this announcement the prospect of having such a facility as part of Cobourg’s vibrant, multi-use and historic waterfront is now one step closer to moving from a wish to a reality.
With exercise machines similar to those found at an indoor fitness centre but designed for the outdoors, the proposed location of the park has been identified as being on the north side of the Victoria Beach boardwalk, next to a children’s play area and within 50 metres of a car drop off and parking area. Conceived of as an exercise facility suitable to all age groups, the boardwalk offers easy access for those using walkers or other types of mobility devices. Denoted as item 5.10 in the plan, its exact location is shown in the “Victoria Beach Conceptual Rendering Plan Map”, figure 6.16, as found on page 62.
The “Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Design Plan” gives shape and form to the intent of the waterfront component of the 2013 Parks Master Plan. The development of the Waterfront Plan has taken place over the last year during which the planners consulted with close to 3,500 residents and 30 organizations and agencies. 2,000 individuals completed a lengthy questionnaire; 455 attended a series of public meetings lead by the planning consultants and town staff, and 1,038 signed a petition in favour of an adult fitness park.
The task ahead now is to produce a development and implementation plan that will include the specific design of the site; the equipment most appropriate to the anticipated use of the park; a plan for further publicity and fund-raising and a description of how the Town of Cobourg will be involved, not only in the physical development of the park, but also in its operation and maintenance.
Sept 14th, 2017 - Public Open House Announced - October 26th, 2017
The Town of Cobourg Recreation and Culture Division would like to inform all residents that the third interactive public open house for the Waterfront User Needs Assessment and Detailed Design is scheduled for October 26, 2017.
The Recreation and Culture Division is embarking on a project to develop and implement a comprehensive waterfront design. Following an inclusive community engagement process the final plan will balance community use and natural heritage considerations with visitor related economic objectives. Multiple community engagement tactics will be employed throughout this project including public open houses, workshops, design charrettes, on-line surveys and social media.
Interactive Public Open House #3
Date: Thursday, October 26, 2017
Location: Cobourg Community Centre, Cameco Room A, B & C
Time: 1 – 8 p.m.
June 27, 2017 - Cobourg Water Planning - Interactive Public Open House
Update on process and progress. Public feedback and input from the community.
Location: Knights of Columbus, 232 Spencer St E, Cobourg
Time: In order to accommodate the greatest number of people there will be two meeting times. Individuals are invited to attend either time.
Session 1: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Session 2: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
May 31, 2017 - There will be a Community Design Charette from 2:00-9:00 pm with all comments to date posted.
May 10th, 2017 - Next Open House, 4:00-6:00 pm and 7:00-9:00 pm at the Community Centre. Consultants will report on progress to date, opportunities and challenges, visions and principles.
April 10, 2017 - Meetings held during the week with large stakeholders, Marina, Field Naturalists, Dragon Boat Club, etc.
April 4th, 2017 - First public meeting on a Waterfront Development Plan (which will include the park area adjacent to the beach) will be held on April 4th, from 5 to 9 pm at the Community Centre. This is an opportunity for those interested in the development of an outdoor Fitness Park for All ages to become better informed and to express their views.
Dates for future public meetings will become know at this time.
December 28, 2016: We are beginning to assemble a package of information about existing outdoor fitness parks. This will include; prioritizing the equipment selected, experience by others with various manufacturers, experience with maintenance and use by different age groups, injury experience and insurance costs ... and the types of exercise that specifically benefit the elderly. In that regard several health care professionals who have experience with the elderly are beginning to recommend reliable sources of information.
(Anyone who can help us accumulate such information, please let us know.)
December 23, 2016: As of this date a Request For a Proposal (RFP) is being prepared to solicit applications from planning consultants who are qualified to work on a Waterfront Strategy and Implementation Plan. It is expected that the RFP will be issued in late January or early February. The south end of Victoria Park which is separated from the Cobourg Beach by a boardwalk will be included. The location is one possible site for the first Adult Fitness Park. Included in the consultants work plan will be at least two public meetings.
December 6, 2016: Northumberland Today - Cobourg Council Supports New Recreation Plan
December 5, 2016: After learning that the final RSIP is to be presented to and voted on by a Cobourg Town Council Meeting-of-the-Whole, we made a presentation to Council recommending more specific wording be included in the RSIP. The purpose of the wording was to ensure that the exercise needs of the older and less physically able segment of the senior population be specifically recognized, planned for and included in the Implementation Plan. Statistics and a bar graph were presented that proved Cobourg to have one of the highest percentages of seniors in Ontario. Council approved the RSIP as presented by the consultants without any changes.
December 1, 2016: Visit and photograph outdoor fitness equipment that has been installed along with children’s play equipment, at the small towns of Norwood, Warkworth, Hasting and Campbellford located at the east end of rice Lake.
November 28, 2016: We visit and photograph a 16 piece outdoor Fitness Park in Whitby. Called an “Outdoor Gym” it is located on the waterfront next to the Childrens’ Park at the south end of Brock Street. It was built as a public-private project in 2012 with a $30,000 contribution from two local Rotary clubs.
November 21, 2016: With over 900 signatures on the petition, a detailed presentation is made to Cobourg Town Council that the RSIP include wording that will result in a study of an Adult Fitness Park becoming an element in the parks implementation plan. Request is favourably received but no action is taken except to accept for information purposes and pass on to the Advisory Committee.
November 20, 2016: We learn about and investigate the TV Ontario programme “Givers” which features children building playgrounds for other children in 33 Ontario communities. In anticipation of Canada’s 150th Birthday in 2017, a 4,600 sq metre playground is being built in Ottawa. Why couldn’t this ongoing series feature a “playground or fitness Park for Adults including grandparents?”
November 18, 2016: a 3 page detailed recommendation is sent to the planning consultants MHBC who are in the process of drawing up the final draft of the RSIP for presentation to Cobourg Town Council.
November 16, 2016: Keith Oliver makes a presentation to Cobourgs’ Advisory Committee on Recreation and Sport, (Allison Massey, Secretary, 905-372-7371, x8410) recommending that an Adult Fitness Park with provisions for the special needs of less physically able Seniors be included in the planning for Cobourgs’ future Parks System.
November 11, 2016: The last of several public meeting on the RSIP is held which we are unable to attend. Instead we prepare and submit our recommendations to the consultants. (see Nov 18)
End of October, 2016: We begin to circulate a petition to determine the extent of public support for a recommendation to Cobourg Town Council that an Adult Fitness Park with provisions for the special needs of Seniors be included in the planning for Cobourgs’ future Parks System. The response in favour has been overwhelming with over 95% of those approached willing to sign.
Late-October, 2016: We become aware of the concept of an Adult Fitness Park, an outside exercise facility which is being installed in many public parks throughout the world. We learn about locations in China, Korea, Germany, Spain, England and in Florida and California. Edmonton has just opened one and we are told Toronto has several. The equipment is different from that used at the “Y” which can be adjusted to increase resistance. The individual works against their body weight. Muscle tone, joint mobility, and flexibility, cardio function are improved.
Mid-October, 2016: We learn that the Town of Cobourg is nearing the end of a process that will result in the adoption of a “Recreation Strategy and Implementation Plan” (RSIP) for its’ parks system, based on its May 2013 “Parks Master Plan” (PMP) and January 2015 “Seniors Action Plan”.
The planning process is being lead not by the Planning Department but by the Cobourg Department of Recreation and Culture, Dean Hustwick, Director, (905-372-7371)
The PMP states on numerous occasions that ... parks and the opportunities they provide for sport, recreation and social interaction, have an essential role to play in promoting the physical and over-all well-being of the community they serve.
PMP page 24, states ... Traditional Parks have tended to become single use facilities with a narrow focus on active recreation, sports and other athletic facilities, and therefore have a limited appeal to the public-at-large.
Reference is made to a new classification system for parks which Cobourg has adopted and which identifies a greater diversity of opportunities and activities.
PMP page 27, ... outlines seven New Park Categories, none of which refer to adult exercise as a Primary or Secondary Function.
Two years after the adoption of the PMP, and on February 23, 2015, a “Seniors Action Plan” (SAP) was approved.
SAP page 3, sights ... the importance of Seniors remaining engaged with the Town, and the importance of how the community perceives the older adult population.
SAP page 4, states ... that as we get older exercise is important in maintaining physical and mental health, as well as independence.
SAP page 5, sights ... the importance of the SAP as a starting point toward the goal of having the Town recognized as an Age Friendly Community.
SAP page 6, ... the Focus Areas, No 3 Senior Program and Event Enhancement, states that seniors programmes and services should be accessible and engaging and reflect the needs of seniors and the community. (More detail is found on page 9+10.)
SAP page 13, ... “Other Considerations” should be included as the 6th Focus Area.
SAP page 17, ... under Senior Programme and Event Development a recommendation is made to continue to listen to and evaluate seniors needs and wants, and to act in response.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Where will the funding come from to pay for the equipment?
After we get enough signatures from petitioning, we plan on soliciting organizations such as the Lions Club and/or the Rotary Club of Cobourg to sponsor and support this project. We may also solicit for private funding if needed, but we haven't got to that point yet.
2. How much community support do you currently have?
We currently have over 900 signatures from enthusiastic citizens of all ages.
3. Who are you? What group do you represent? Why are you doing this?
We are a small group of residents of Cobourg who care about the health and well-being of the community. We believe physical fitness at all ages and stages of life is pivotal to promoting a higher quality of life and ensuring longevity. We think lowering the barrier to access of fitness equipment and facilities to the general public will help with this.
4. The pictures on this website show equipment. Is this what Cobourg already has?
No. Cobourg does not currently have outdoor fitness equipment yet. The purpose of this website is to show what is available and possible.
5. What if the equipment is vandalized?
We believe that citizens would be respectful of this equipment, as they would be as the children's playground equipment. We are proposing that quality equipment is installed to ensure durability and reliability under the most harshest of conditions - whether from vandals or inclement weather.
6. This is a great idea! How can I help or get involved?
Please add your name to our petition located on the main page of this website. You can also add your name to our Facebook page and post any words of support. Also, if you have any connections to groups like the Lions Club or Rotary Club, we would love to get them involved as well.
7. Can you provide examples of other seniors fitness parks?