Trying to think of a possible reason the City of Prince Rupert would want to rip a playground out of the earth and mow down a designated park makes my head hurt.
I get it, development is coming and the city needs to grow. There needs to be a diverse housing stock for people coming to town, the tax roll needs to increase and things simply can’t stay the way they are. Anyone who doesn’t see that needs to pull their head out of the sand and realize what’s happening in the world around them.
But why, oh why, would you want to take down a wooded park area and deprive neighbourhood kids of another playground in the community when there is no shortage of developable land within the city boundaries?
A quick look at the 2010 Official Community Plan lists potential for 3,640 housing units in three parts of town – behind the highway into town, the Seal Cove area and behind Sloan stretching all the way to Fairview Cemetery. Why would the city blatantly ignore such large tracts of land outlined in a community plan they paid tens-of-thousands of dollars for just three years ago?
And when you throw in the fact the Ministry of Environment sent the city a letter warning them of the need to protect Blue Heron nesting habitat, a letter that was filed into the information package and not brought before a public meeting of council, it makes you wonder if there is some other hidden agenda at play when it comes to that very scenic piece of land.
The reality of the situation is there is plenty of land that could be developed and there is absolutely no reason that this piece of land in particular should be on the city’s radar for clearing and development.
Want to re-purpose the land that formerly housed the Transition House? Go ahead. Want to renew the playground, something that was listed as a priority in that same official community plan? Feel free.
But asking residents to give up a piece of parkland for development when there is so much more land readily available is ridiculous. There is no better way to put it.
Hopefully council will see how asinine this is and turn their attention elsewhere.