CARP – He may live in the Glebe, but David Sweanor is committed to seeing Carp get its fitness park.
The lawyer and public health advocate recently made a $10,000 donation to the Carp Fitness Park overseeing committee, Carp Health Access, through a fund he developed with Ottawa Community Foundation.
Though a Glebe resident, Sweanor cycles out to Carp, some 70 kilometres one way, for his morning coffee at Alice’s Village Cafe almost each and every day. Sweanor has more than 111,000 kms on his current bike, but swears they weren’t all earned biking to the community hub and coffee hut.
West Carleton Online shared a coffee with Sweanor Tuesday morning, July 17, at Alice’s to talk about his generous contribution.
“I’m very concerned with cost effective methods to improve fitness,” Sweanor who also donates his time as chair of the advisory committee for the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics. “I’ve grown to love Carp from coming here, drinking coffee and meeting the community.”
He loves the idea of a free-to-use fitness park in the core of a community.
“Curative medicine is very expensive,” Sweanor said. “There are so many positive things you can do with policy initiatives. We need an epidemic of rationality and pragmatism.”
Sweanor says too much money already goes in to health care and Canadians need a more economical way to improving health and longevity.
“Subsidizing a service is probably more cost effective then some of the money we put in to health care,” he said.
The Carp Fitness Park just happens to be one of those cost-effective methods for improving health.
The City of Ottawa has already signed on to the project and will guarantee paying 50 per cent of the cost. Carp Health Access has taken the project under its wing and is leading the fundraising efforts for the remaining $38,000.
The park will be built on the greenspace off Langstaff Drive roughly adjacent to the curling club.
Sweanor, an award-winning philanthropist, says this type of community project tics off all the checkboxes on his list of beneficial and cost-effective community health improvement projects.
“Fitness parks are a huge interest of mine for many reasons,” he said. “When I saw the poster looking for fundraising, I couldn’t not make a donation. I’ve got to know a lot of people here, it’s a great community. A good community ties in to better health.”
Sweanor says in the ‘80s he was involved with reducing smoking in youth. He said, at the time, 42 per cent of youth were smoking.
“It was from watching their parents,” he said. “They set the example. Back then, the way you showed you were an adult was by smoking. Now it is more by sitting, eating and talking. We need to set the example the way you act as an adult is by exercising and taking care of yourself. We can give the kids a model for healthy living, which will attract more people as we grow. Fitness parks can build social connections. Having these in more places makes a lot of sense. I’d rather donate to these than to health care. You want to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
Carp Health Access Director Tara Azulay was happy Sweanor’s choice was so “easy.”
So far, $15,270 has been raised for the fitness park.
“The donation from David has put the Carp Fitness Park well on the way to becoming a reality,” she said. “He has a keen vision and understanding of how this initiative offers so much more than a way to improve physical fitness – it will create opportunities for people to make connections with each other and it’s these connections in the community that play such an important part in peoples’ true wellness.”
The next fundraiser for the Carp Fitness Park will be Paint Night: Paint the Cow on Wednesday, Aug. 15. $15 of every ticket sold goes to the Fitness Park project. To register, click here.