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Asphodel-Norwood Township citizens want more doctors, better internet: survey results

·3 min read

Asphodel-Norwood Township residents would like to see more doctors and better internet service in their community.

The results of township council, staff and resident surveys — which identified current and future priorities — were presented to township council at its regular meeting on Tuesday as part of the township’s strategic plan update for 2022 to 2024.

Township staff and council indicated their top priority is doctor recruitment for the medical centre, followed by broadband, commercial growth opportunities and the construction of a new firehall and emergency base.

Results of the community survey, of which there were 63 responses with the majority being Asphodel-Norwood residents, listed doctor recruitment, recreation programs for youth, adults and seniors, business attraction, reliable internet service, attracting young families, diversified housing and upgrades to parks and trails as priorities for the next five to 10 years.

Some challenges seen by residents were lack of commercial retail options, growth management, internet instability, and pandemic recovery.

Staff agreed.

They listed challenges as infrastructure deficit, balancing growth and merging new residents with existing ones.

Comments received from residents focused on concerns over too many business franchises in Norwood and the need for more support for small businesses and a “shop local” strategy. Lack of parking in Norwood was also mentioned.

“It’s a tough go,” said Mayor Rodger Bonneau. “People don’t want franchises to come to town, yet some of the new residents are saying ‘great, there’s a new franchise in town with a drive-thru’. Some of the comments are ‘we have five gas stations in town.’

“If we actually have the expansion that we’re predicting that is going to come to town, you won’t want to line up with 20 vehicles to get gas in your car and wait half an hour. That still allows you to shop local and look after the people who are paying the higher taxes.”

Chief administrative officer Candice White said she will be recommending a consultant be hired in 2022 to look into a community improvement plan and possible grants for the downtown since many comments focused on esthetics such as business facades, farmers markets, parks, an outdoor theatre and enhancements of the Mill Pond Forest Trails.

“There’s a lot of tough choices with the downtown core,” Bonneau said. “It’s tough if people want things to look better. It’s tough with today’s prices ... to try and keep it as quaint as it could be. Everybody has to be patient and respect the people who own their businesses because they have tried their best, too.”

Township staff will now prepare a draft strategic plan document using an analysis of the current strategic plan, plus results of the surveys, which will be presented to council followed by public input.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at bburke@metroland.com

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner

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