The Muskoka Conservancy is receiving criticism of its maintenance of the historic Dyer Memorial. And that’s fine says Conservancy Executive Director Scott Young.
“Yeah, there are some spots that need repair, but that’s not what most people notice first,” says Young. “It’s what a stunning site it is.”
Young, accepts and actually appreciates the comments because as he says, it means people still care about the property.
The property was donated to the Muskoka Conservancy by the estate of Clifton Dyer in 2010.
The central attraction of the public gardens is a 42-foot obelisk, a memorial to Dyer’s wife when she died in 1956. Clifton Dyer died three years later, in 1959 and the couple’s ashes were placed at the top of the tower, where they remain to this day.
At the core of the conversation is whether the Conservancy is doing enough to maintain the park portion. Online comments on Facebook list the poor condition of the access road, failing stairs and the lack of attention to the gardens as complaints.
The conservancy organizes spring and fall cleanups with a professional landscaper and it is all paid for from the interest of fund organized to look after the property.
Some users have called for the restoration of the English gardens that once graced the grounds. That is where Young draws the line, invoking his stewardship privileges of the Conservancy.
“We are definitely interested in working with people that want to be part of the solution,” he affirms, before adding, “Our only requirement is that it is a native species garden.
“We’re happy to work in partnership with community groups that want to do that.”
Which means those hoping to revive an English style garden will be disappointed. The mandate of the conservancy is to keep native species safe and not allow invasive plants and animals affect the existing flora and fauna.
“We’re happy to maintain Dyer Memorial because it allows us to protect the other 153 acres of land,” says Young.
He speaks passionately about the Memorial site even though it is one of 39 the conservancy helps take care of.
“We are growing the fund that looks after the memorial because we know there are big projects coming,” said Young.
He points to the stairs that will need to be redone and the large patio area. He is disappointed that local off-road enthusiasts are running their equipment up and down the stairs, damaging them, requiring expensive repairs.
“If people want to support the Dyer Memorial site they can join the Muskoka Conservancy and support it that way,” he encourages.
You can visit the Muskoka Conservancy website by Clicking Here.