Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Parks Planning for Westview area, brings reminder of abandoned play areas of the east side, other areas of Prince Rupert

A discussion on potential funding for improvements to
Odd Eidsvik Park in the Westview area expanded into 
a review towards underserved areas of the city

Plans towards progress for development of a park area on the west side gained a review on Monday evening as Council received a report from Communications Manager Veronika Stewart who outlined the nature of the community engagement and funding opportunities available for the Odd Eidsvik park proposal. 

City Manager Rob Buchan noted that the Communications Manager Veronika Stewart would outline whether this rollover was for pre approval, or would be required as part of the upcoming Budgetary process. 

To which Ms. Stewart noted was up to Council to offer direction on. Noting how the project is a community led initiative which started in the previous year, with the City providing some administrative support and served as lead to the engagement process just completed.

Towards Questions that came out of her report, Councillor Cunningham asked about the community engagement process that was in place for the Eidsvik Park proposal, asking what prompted that public meeting. 

"Well I noticed in the park survey that we recently did, the park survey to find what community members wanted and that. 

A Couple of things in there. Like one Section One had the lowest number of response back to it, but we had a public consultation about a park for them. 

And I just wondered where the connection was. If they were the lowest people responding to a park survey, but we had a public meeting, what prompted that public meeting?  -- Councillor Barry Cunningham 

In reply the Communication Manager observed for the councillor, that the community meeting was prompted as part of advocacy for a park in that area, noting of some interest in the development of the area, as well the initial contact with the city took place prior to the survey.

He then observed that while he had no issue with adding amenities to the park in question in the Westview area, that there are a number of locations on the East side of the city such as the Frederick Street area or Harbourview apartments which have none. And how those areas should be addressed as well.

Frederick Street (top) and the old Seal Cove
School location (below) are two areas of the east
side where parks and playgrounds once were found but are no more

Mr. Cunningham then suggested that some public meetings should be held for those residents as well, he also raised the concept of consulting with SD52 to see what the young people in the community would like to see in community parks.

Ms. Stewart noted that the Parks Master plan has not been completed as of yet and returned to the focus of the Eidsvik Park proposal, noting that it had come to the city perviously and how it was just following through on that previous period.

Councillor Nick Adey observed how there has been a need for the issue to be dealt with for a long time, noting of his past calls for more attention towards play areas and how he had hopes for the recent parks and recreation survey.

"I will tell you, that one of the things that I was very hopeful that the Parks and Recreation survey would produce for us. Is a picture of those areas of town that are well served in terms of parks and playground equipment and those areas in contrast that are not well served. " -- Councillor Nick Adey

Towards the Westview area proposal he noted that he had a family member who would want him to remind council that there had been a lot of local involvement and fundraising towards a play area in the area of Westview that had been removed when the school had closed and that there is a need for park space in that area and supportive of a group looking to improve that area.

He suggested more time was required to understand the commitment by the city of the 50,000 dollars towards in kind funding offered by the city from a previous budget and noted how the city should do that part right and not conduct exceptional budgeting, though noting he would be in support of holding to that previous support.

"I think we have to understand exactly what we mean, when we talk about the 50,000 dollars. 

I agree that it was a commitment that the previous council supported in a previous budget. 

also recognize that we're not at the point of doing next year's budget and I would want to make sure that we do that part right.  

I don't think that we should be doing exceptional budgeting for one particular initiative, moving it outside of the regular budgeting process. 

So I think we have to pay attention to that.

I will make the case when  budgeting happens, that we should honour that commitment  that we previously made. 

So I want to be clear where I stand on it, but I do think procedurally we need to do it correctly"  -- Councillor Nick Adey

He also recommended a change to the language to reflect it is more of a community led initiative and that the city should support it instead of leading it.

The Councillor noting that Council should remain consistent in its approach, towards that theme, the Mayor observed that Councillor Adey was heading towards an amendment. 

To that a reworded version of the recommendation was provided, which removed the term City led as an element and offered Council support of consideration of 50,000 dollars in kind contribution. 

While supporting the revised amendment, Councillor Cunningham returned to his call for further efforts towards providing park space for other parts of the city on the east side.

"I'm just saying we did a survey of the whole town and the eastern side of town needs parks just as much as other any other part of town, if not more ... 

Kids from Seal Cove have to walk all the way to Rotary Park, or Mariner's Park which is quite a walk too ...

We did a survey, parts of the town responded to that survey in a large way and we should be taking a look at that part of the town too. 

Because when you see kids playing in the street at the bottom of Frederick Hill and things like that it's dangerous and they have no place to play" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham 

The City's Operations Director Richard Pucci, offered up an observation for consideration related to in kind contributions by the city.

"I just want to make sure that, in kind, does mean  there has to be you know money put into the budget. In kind has to be budgeted.  So the excavator work costs money ... there isn't an in kind contribution it will still come forward as a item in the budget" -- Operations Director Richard Pucci

Ms. Stewart's Report on the funding proposal and public consultation towards the Eidsvik Park area can be found as part of the Council Agenda on page.

You can review our notes on  the City's most recent engagement on Parks and Play areas, as well as a link for the Rupert Talks Portal from our preview notes from Monday.

Council adopted the revised motion towards the initiative.

The full discussion to the topic can be reviewed from the Council Video archive starting at the 55 minute mark.

More items of note from Monday's Council session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline.

No comments:

Post a Comment