Those assertions being that it was too expensive, too poorly planned, executed and an overall exercise in poor use of the copious amount of property tax Georgina residents pay (and pay, and pay, apparently the highest taxes in York Region – um, really?!?) to be of much use to the vast majority of us. That said, I am renowned for my open mind and willingness to give something a fair shake before condemning it to hell, AND my smalls have been asking to go on some nature walks, so rather than traipse all around our neighbourhood (which we actually do plan on doing soon), I thought it would be a good opportunity to actually check out The ROC in person. I’ve heard and read many, many things about it but until this morning, had not ventured even so far as the parking lot.
So, I packed the smalls, the off-road stroller and my handy-dandy camera and away we drove – about five minutes from our house – to The ROC. Had I not already built the idea up to the kids, I probably would have turned around and come home as soon as I arrived. It was deserted. There was no one in sight. It looked closed, abandoned, dead. But, I had built it up to the kids, so I put on my ‘happy mom’ face and parked the van in the otherwise empty parking lot (ok, not entirely empty, there were maybe five other vehicles).
Everywhere we look things look half-finished and neglected. The most (or only) populated area was the gaggles of geese swimming, flapping, walking and strolling around the man-made ponds.
There was one town employee, there presumably to cut the dead grass (judging by the fact that he was seated on a lawn tractor), who was completely engrossed in his cell phone and likely had long ago forgotten that OUR TAX DOLLARS were paying for his time. So glad we can afford to pay people to LITERALLY sit on their asses and text people. Sign me up! /rant Anyway, we made our way over to the splash pad area – you could hear a pin drop. Not a soul. The park was bone dry and dead boring. A few neat looking contraptions for the kids to climb on, but a fun park experience really wasn’t going to be in the cards here. Finally some other people showed up and a boy who quickly identified himself as “older than you guys, I’m nine!” and claimed to know where the walking trails were and were not (as it turned out, he did not know, but it’s not his fault, I dont’ think they really exist).
Our quest to find the walking trails was put on hold for a bit while the kids climbed on the limited equipment while I surveyed the landscape looking for anywhere that resembled a `walking trail.`
Now, in fairness, if you are into mountain or trail bike riding, The ROC may actually have some fun to offer you. But if you’re into walking, or more specifically trail walking, The ROC is probably a good one to pass on. BUT, if you like walking around on concrete or crushed gravel, then The ROC just may be the place for you! BUT if you like maps or directions to find walking trails or anywhere walking is permitted, The ROC may not be the place for you (or me, I suppose!). I ran into many of these signs:
and much further away, closer to the big dirt hill we are met with this one:
So, not being quitters (or maybe just not very bright, I dunno), I lead my posse forward along a crushed gravel road. We can see into the forest from where we were walking and could SEE some obvious TRAILS. Hallelujah - we FOUND them! We bush-whack our way into the forest, stroller and all and start following. It’s a strange little trail, but a trail none the less and the kids are happier (Paxie’s tummy no longer hurt and Mason and Deacon were laughing and smiling again – I’ll take it!) So we follow the trail up and around, over mad-made ‘bridges’ made with plywood and 2×4′s, but kids are still happy, so I’m rolling with it. Even Ms. M insisted on leaving her stroller and walking.
And we were doing well. Until we saw them. Kids on bikes. On the trail we were walking on. And suddenly it makes sense. All of those silly plywood constructions, and 2×4 bridges. Not for people. For bikes. The walkers remain trail-less.
So, back to the crushed gravel road that makes Paxton’s tummy hurt and my heart sad. The ROC is living up to my very low expectations :( And in my disappointment I make a rash decision – splash pad (that now has a few families playing in it), for a few minutes, run what you brung (meaning underwear and tee shirts or just shorts) and they can wear what dry clothes they have for the 5 minute car ride home. The kids were happy (again) and it cooled them down nicely. Ten minutes in, and we were heading back through the concrete jungle to the van and heading home again.
The verdict? The ROC may have been a good IDEA, in THEORY, but the REALITY of it just does not justify the huge drain on resources it took to create. The empty, un-used facilities, the inaccessibility to information, direction, SHADE all make the ROC one of my least likely destinations in Georgina. Sure, it’s cool to have beach volleyball courts, but the only teenagers there are running the day camps of bored looking kids. The only activity we could see being pursued was biking and some rock climbing (by camp kids for the most part).
But all is not lost. If you’re in Keswick and you want or need to hit a good splash pad that has a cool park with lots of great equipment for kids of all ages and SHADED seating (for those delicate flowers, like me), Whipper Watson park, across the street from school of the same name is awesome!
I’ll keep looking for fun and free things to do with kids in the greater Keswick area and keep ya’ll posted
Have a great long weekend!
P.S. This just in: