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Editorial: Where to spend will become bigger question for city

It will often be a choice between community needs and wants
CC trenders Smith Street
Work on Gladstone Avenue and Smith Street to be completed by Sept. 30, but street work is costly so finding dollars always a challenge.

YORKTON - Drive around our city and you quickly realize when it comes to green spaces, places people can go for sport and relaxation, Yorkton has most of the bases covered.

There are baseball diamonds and tennis courts, pickleball, basketball hoops, disc golf, skateboard park, fishing pond, ravine ecological ravine, loads of playground equipment, paved walking paths and more.

And while that might seem like most of the boxes would be checked off for most, more is being considered by the city including additional outdoor basketball courts and a pump track for bicycles.

So when Recreation and Parks Month comes along in June there is a lot to pause and reflect upon in Yorkton.

In conjunction with the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA), the City of Yorkton has been promoting June as Recreation and Parks Month for many years, and it is a great way for residents to learn about what opportunities are available here.

Of course having access to parks, and the programming which those parks allow have a practical purpose too.

Recreation and leisure activities can improve our mental health and, overall, our general wellbeing.

So investing in parks and recreation would seem to be a wise decision by Council and city administration, and a good place for taxpayer dollars to be spent.

However, that might increasingly become a matter of some debate.

While driving around the city to check out the parks and what they have to offer you are likely going to be at best dodging numerous potholes in the pavement of various streets, and at worst bouncing in your seat as your vehicle rolls into, and jolts out of some of the holes.

Walking might be a bit less jarring, but some of the sidewalks you will be walking on are in about the same state of repair as the streets.

And, you only need to look back at various reports to Yorkton Council in recent years to know the infrastructure under the streets, the water and sewer lines are old, breaking more often with miles of piping needing to be replaced far more quickly than the city can afford.

There is an infrastructure deficit in communities across this country and in this city and Council knows it. The provincial government knows it. The federal government knows it.

What no one knows is how to afford to do what is needed?

So, the question should be asked. Should we spend millions on a golf course clubhouse for recreation, or do we invest those dollars in upgrading some waterlines?

Is spending thousands on a pump track wise? Or, do you fix some more potholes?

Recreation certainly has its value for a community, but is it the best value given other needs?