It was a beautiful, sunny day as local dignitaries cut the ribbon in the official opening of the Brock Mission’s new deck, created with the financial support and volunteer work of members of the Rotary Club of Peterborough Kawartha.
In what had previously been a gravelly parking lot behind the Mission, the Rotarians laid a grassy lawn, planted trees, and built a “deck with permanent seating and sun shelter that provides a more private place for Brock Mission clientele to enjoy the outdoors comfortably and in the company of one another.”
Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett was on hand for the opening ceremonies, and commented that, where once Peterborough’s flourishing industries provided, now “industrious people” provide. He also added that our worth as a community can be measured by how we provide for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Bill McNabb, Executive Director of the Brock Mission, stated in the Rotary’s press release that the deck was “a work of beauty, and has been thoroughly enjoyed by many already. It surpasses anything we would have hoped for.” McNabb said the Rotarians approached the Mission asking how they might be of help, and that this was not the first time the Rotary’s generosity had benefitted the Mission.
David Martin, Rotary Club President, said in the press release, “I am extremely proud of what our club accomplished. … This was a perfect hands on project for us and we continue to seek similar projects where we see a need in the city.”
Prior to the construction of this deck, patrons of the Mission were a common sight standing or congregated in lawn chairs outside the Brock Mission’s 217 Murray Street front entrance.
The fact that this new deck is tucked out of site around the back of the Mission may lead some observers to criticize the venture as more about hiding the poor than truly benefitting them.
While there may be a grain of truth to that, it seems undeniable that the new deck and grass-covered lot is a much more inviting and comfortable space for patrons of the Mission to relax and socialize.
Putting aside for one moment the larger context of endemic poverty and homelessness in Peterborough, surely that in itself is a good thing.