May 27, 2009

Kids have ideas for Erin's future

As published in The Erin Advocate

Kids at Erin Public School love their town, and they have lots of ideas for making it an even better place to live.

A batch of 19 letters arrived in my mailbox after I invited students to add their opinions to the Town's "visioning" project, the initial phase of the Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP) process. My thanks to Librarian Lesley Rowe, who read my May 13 column to many students, and held a brainstorming session.

All the letters have been emailed to SSMP Project Manager Matt Pearson (, with copies to the mayor and town councillors. Here are some excerpts:

• "We want Erin to stay like Erin. We don't want Erin to become overcrowded. We like the small population. More fun stuff, more parks, swimming pools."

• "What I like about Hillsburgh is that it's not so crowded. Hillsburgh would be a better place if it had more stores and more restaurants (fast food). They should have better roads so that there are not potholes, and more parks so kids have somewhere to hang out."

• "Erin is not too big, but it's also not too small. The thing that I don't like about living in Erin is that you're not allowed to skateboard in town. So to fix that, I think that we should get a skate park, so that people can skateboard without getting in trouble."

• "I think that we should have a public pool. I don't think that that there should be any more houses."

• "We should have more health care. People have to waste gas driving to Brampton, Mississauga or even Toronto to see their doctor or dentist. I think we should have a health care centre right in downtown Erin. We should have an indoor pool. Why not build one right beside the Erin District High School."

• "In the near future, I want more little shops in Erin. Also more parks, and people should plant more trees in their yards. Maybe a Tim Horton's or a Starbucks, but otherwise I like it the way it is! Please don't put any factories or giant buildings."

• "You can walk around town to go where you like and it's not too big. We should open a sports store in Erin and the school should buy new equipment."

• "I like that Erin is a small town, but that's about it. There's never anything for teenagers to do. All of the activities are sports, and it'd be nice to have a mall and a Tim Horton's. Any place to hang out'd be nice; Centre 2000 gets boring after the first six years of living here."

• "I like Erin because you basically know everyone, and they have fairs. I wish they had a Tim Horton's."

• "I think that there should be a huge mall, or a regular mall, in Erin so you can have more people in it."

• "I think Erin is a good town and is perfect the way it is. I think that if Erin had buses or got any bigger the town would be over-populated and polluted. I think the town of Erin should build a Motocross track. Erin should also get a BMX park."

• "I would like to see more trees and parks, because there's so many people who like to walk, and go up town with their dogs. I don't think Erin should change that much, because that's what makes Toronto and Erin way different – no city shops and big houses, with huge highways and traffic."

• "The town of Erin is the right size. If it grows too much it will be a mini-Brampton. It should get some more entertainment, because all you can do on the weekend is go biking, and go to the theatre. They should get either a skate/bike park or an arcade. We could get a mountain bike trail."

• "We have lots of space and lots of fresh air, and where I live, lots of forest. Everywhere around us they are tearing down trees and adding strip malls and houses. I really wouldn't like it if they start building even more houses – we would be crowded, and the space we have right now is really nice. I really wouldn't like it to be like the city. It sucks in the city in my opinion. I really don't want factories because that would pollute the air. Some people already drive far away from where they live, so why can't they keep doing that."

• "We need a recreational area with a pool. Dog parks. More trails. The roads are bad on the small roads and they also need garbage clean-up; we pay taxes for services we are not receiving. Need more tourist attractions, more restaurants, more bike racks, a bigger Humane Society and more trees. We need a mall."

• "We should make an organization that has games and stuff to do after school. It will give our parents some time away from the kids and it will keep the teens off the streets."

• "I don't like how people litter a lot. Maybe some more restaurants. No factories because it would pollute the air even more. Better roads – too many cracks. I think the population should stay the same. Maybe a few more apartments. Maybe a paintball arena where an open field is."