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The L.E.A.F. Initiative is a Commonwell program to grow capacity and resiliency in the communities we call home.

Parc Jonathan Pitre Park

717 Notre-Dame Street EmbrunK0A 1W1

Target Completion Date: October 30, 2022

What is this project about?

In December 2020, the Russell Township Council approved a project of a $1.5 million for the development of an accessible/inclusive park with exercise components for seniors, 2 tennis courts and 2 basket ball courts. They also approved to name this park after Mr. Jonathan Pitre, a 17-year-old Russell resident who sadly passed in April 2018. Jonathan suffered from epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, a very painful and deadly skin disease. Jonathan worked diligently at raising awareness of the disease during the last years of his life. His determination in the face of a rare and very painful skin disease served as an inspiration for everyone. He was often referred as the ”butterfly child” because his skin was as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. This park would be a symbol of determination and achievement for Jonathan and all people facing physical or mental challenges. The community is very happy that this park will be built in memory of Jonathan Pitre. There was a tremendous outpour of love and support towards Jonathan and his family during the last years of his life.

By having the exercise components installed close to the Russell Sports dome, this could become a great extension of a daily exercise routine for our seniors. The dome opened almost 4 years ago. Inside this facility, we can find a gym, tennis / pickle ball courts, a turf and a walking track. Needless to say, that the seniors are a major part of the dome’s clientele with the tennis-pickle ball and walking track pass holders.

This project is part of the Phase 1 and 2 of the Recreation Complex project, which will be located on the same parcel of land. The intention of the municipality is to create a community hub in having the most important recreation facilities located on the same property. The draft of the park concept was presented to the municipal accessibility committee and to the Parks and Recreation Advisory committee for their approval. We also had an important support from the Embrun and Russell Seniors Club and the Valoris for children and adults agency, which is located on a very close proximity. All these groups and the general public will be able to use the accessible and exercise components on a daily basis and at no cost. The construction of the park was started in June 2021 and is to be completed in the spring of 2022. The addition of the gazebo would be to offer the users of the whole park, a shaded area to rest after exercising and also a space to sit safely to socialize with others in the community. The installation of the gazebo would be in early summer 2022.