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Swings to be considered

After attending an open house in North Canoe, Mayor Nancy Cooper said she thinks the city might have been remiss in not asking enough questions of the public before planning new playground equipment for Jackson Park in Canoe.

Cooper was addressing the June 16 meeting of the city’s planning committee.

“I’m bringing it back to you to see what we could do about it...”

The old equipment was removed because it no longer met national safety standards. The new equipment, worth about $74,000 and to be installed this month, is non-traditional, including a canoe, a ‘lake’ and rocks with a climbing rope, designed to enhance imaginative play.

City staff explained the park upgrade has been on the books since 2012 and then went through the parks master plan process, where numerous consultations were held with groups. Further consultation was done in the fall of 2013.

Couns. Debbie Cannon and Ken Jamieson  said the open house on June 5 would have been better scheduled before the equipment was ordered.  However, they weren’t aware the open house wasn’t intended to be about the park.

Canoe resident Louise Wallace Richmond,  a member of the board which runs the Downtown Activity Centre in Salmon Arm and the North Canoe Hall committee, told the Observer the open house was held to gather input on improvements to the hall, across the street from the park.

“The only reason they hosted the open house is because the Downtown Activity Centre wanted to engage the community in a conversation about what to do with the hall now that we’re getting a new park. It wasn’t about the new park... ‘While we’re here, this is what the park’s going to look like, what should we do with the hall?’”

However, that led to strong complaints from some people – mainly about the wish for a slide, swings and more seating – and about lack of consultation.

Wallace Richmond  said she thinks the city could have done a better job of explaining to the neighbourhood why the old park had to go, but that’s now a moot point.

She emphasizes her approval of council’s wish to invest in Canoe.

“I want the city to know we care that they care about Canoe.”

After discussion at Monday’s meeting, council agreed to consider the addition of a slide and swings in the next budget year, if there’s room in the park.

Jamieson added he always favours finding more ways to consult.

Although Cooper suggested staff investigate prices, Coun. Marg Kentel said to wait for budget time.

“There are people who come forward all the time and we’re not Santa Claus here,” said Kentel. “I’m all for Canoe getting more, I think they’ve been left out in some way...

“I’m fine with the process, I think council did it exactly right. I’ve sat here long enough to know you can’t make everybody happy.”

 

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