By Jim Barber, Bay of Quinte Living
When individuals and families are looking to move to a new community, for whatever reason, there are a number of factors they consider when choosing a new place in which to set down some roots.
For many companies both large and small, some of these same considerations come into play when deciding where to invest, start up a new enterprise or move an existing facility. In both instances, one of the major considerations is the quality of life of a community or region. And one of the ways that quality of life can be demonstrably measured is through the infrastructure trifecta of education, health care and recreation.
Quality and variety of educational institutions from elementary, through secondary on to post-secondary is always a significant consideration. Families coming into a region want to know that there are high-level, technologically-advanced, safe and forward thinking schooling opportunities for their kids. This is also important when companies are trying to attract and retain employees.
The Bay of Quinte Region is served by four publically-funded school boards. The Hastings and Prince Edward School Board looks after excellent elementary and secondary schools in Belleville, Deseronto, Madoc, Marmora, Prince Edward County, Stirling-Rawdon, Trenton (Quinte West), Tweed and Tyendinaga Township. Napanee District Secondary School is the largest and most diverse school in the Limestone District School Board, while the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is responsible for schools in the Murray Ward of Quinte West as well as Brighton to the west.
Catholic schools throughout the entire region are under the auspices of the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, as well as the Conseil des Ecoles Catholiques de Centre-est.
Being the largest urban centre in the Bay of Quinte Region, Belleville has the ability to host some very specialized schools, including the venerable Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf, the William R. Kirk School for elementary and secondary students living with developmental disabilities, multiple disabilities and special education needs. There is also the Sagonaska Demonstration School for students with learning disabilities.
There are also a number of private career colleges and continuing education programs offered throughout the region, as well as the First Nations Technical Institute of Tyendinaga.
At the top of the education ladder in the Bay of Quinte Region is Loyalist College. Located on a 200-acre campus on the western edge of Belleville, the school features more than 60 certificate and post-graduate programs. It is well-known and well respected for its various journalism, broadcasting, culinary arts, health services and skilled trades course offerings.
For folks of all ages, especially for families with children or seniors, quality, accessible health care is paramount, and the Bay of Quinte Region boasts hospital and clinic facilities that offer programs for every health care need.
For most of the region, Quinte Health Care is the main hospital health care provider with four primary care facilities: Belleville General Hospital, QHC North Hastings Hospital, QHC Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital and QHC Trenton Memorial Hospital.
Each has its own emergency room , with surgical suites at three of the sites, a rehab hospital, the Quinte Children’s Treatment Centre, all manner of ambulatory care clinics, a community mental health program, a diabetes program and a full range of diagnostic services. Between the four sites, there are 255 inpatient beds for acute care, intensive care, obstetrics pediatrics, mental health, complex continuing care, rehab and surgery.
Greater Napanee is home of the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital, considered to be on one of the best small-centre hospitals in Ontario. The Bay of Quinte Region also hosts an abundance of general practitioners, naturopathic practitioners, clinics, and specialists in all disciplines, complimenting the care offered by the area’s hospitals.
In terms of recreation infrastructure, the region is also well-equipped to meet the fitness and wellness needs of residents of all demographic groups.
A brand new YMCA opened in 2012 in Quinte West. Quinte West also has the Duncan McDonald Memorial Community Gardens twin pad facility, whole in Frankford, there is the Dr. McMullen Recreation Centre/Frankford Arena. Quinte West also boasts the Centennial Park amphitheatre, Battawa Community Centre, Centennial Hall on Loyalist-Wallbridge Road, Frankford Tourist Park Pavilion, as well as 52 community and neighbourhood parks comprising nearly 400 acres.
Belleville recently opened the massive 330,00 square foot Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre, literally doubling the size of the previous facility, which already housed the Yardmen and Wally Dever Arenas.
The centre now has four NHL-sized ice pads; the Templeman Menninga Aquatic Centre featuring an eight-lane, 25-metre pool, therapy pools and a pool for preschoolers. There is a large multi-use gymnasium; an indoor heated running track; a senior’s centre and youth drop-in; studios for yoga/Pilates, aerobics and dryland training; public lounge and community rooms.
Brighton has the King Edward Park Arena and Codrington Community Centre, while Stirling Rawdon has the recently refurbished Stirling Rawdon and District Recreation Centre. The Town of Deseronto has also made improvements to its Community Recreation Centre. In Napanee, the community came together a decade ago to build the twin-pad Strathcona Paper Centre.
The entire region is also traversed by hundreds of kilometres of walking, hiking and cycling trails as well as thousands of acres of public parkland. And the area is served by two YMCAs.
It is evident by the high quality of schools, hospitals and recreational facilities, as well as all the complementary educational, health care and recreational services that the Bay of Quinte regions is truly a place to live, work and play – in abundance. And because of these and so many other reasons, the Bay of Quinte region offers a quality of life that is the envy of many other parts of the province, and a place where everyone is welcome to come visit, live and invest.
Jim Barber is a writer for Bay of Quinte Living, and resides in Napanee, Ontario.