Friday, May 16, 2008

SKATING TRAIL - OTHER POINTS TO CONSIDER


Some other points that have been put forward by members of F.O.S.S. and by others in the community who oppose the skating trail are listed below. They might also be weighed alongside the two central arguments that constitute Friends of Sam Smith Park’s position.

  • There are other maintenance and enhancement projects in the park that need attention (the skating trail would divert two million dollars away from the Parks and Recreation budget!) For example, the photograph here shows what was left after the large observation deck that overlooked a bird hotspot was burnt down by vandals a few years ago. The funds have not appeared yet to replace it. Other needs: more picnic benches, interpretive signage, open washrooms, removal of rebar, enhancement of play equipment south of Jean Tweed, replanting of previously removed shrubbery, dredging and rehabilitation of North Creek etc.). Maybe its better to maintain and enhance what we already have before embarking on controversial new projects in a time of budget crisis.
  • The trail could become a very expensive 12-week white elephant. It is well away from the main street, isolated, hard to get to and away from stores and restaurants.

  • The City would find it difficult to maintain and operate the facility properly. Remember, the City had to be bailed out last winter by a private company in order to keep its existing rinks open.

  • Vandalism and the danger of misuse of the proposed firepit in a park known already for its incidents of arson would be a threat without the passive surveillance of a more accessible site.

  • There is already more than enough ice in the community, according to a City staff report

  • The money allotted for this project would be more wisely spent on the much more needed community center that the neighbourhood was promised 30 years ago

  • The idea of the skating trail becoming a walking trail out of season makes little sense. There is a track adjacent to Father John Redmond virtually unused by the public and, anyway, people prefer to walk by the lake out along the headlands.

  • The trees that would be removed or probably damaged are heritage remnants of the former Psychiatric Hospital’s tree nursery (hence the straight rows).

  • Enhanced, rather than diminished habitat, is a huge drawing card for park visitors.

  • If a concession counter in the Power House was part of the plan, its very existence might be the thin edge of the wedge, inviting even more active recreation, expansion and facilities in that area.

  • Friends of Sam Smith Park and many others have another vision for the Power House. De Baeremaeker, in his report, picked up on our idea that the Power House become a Nature Interpretation Center. He recommended that there be “created a young naturalists’ program (based out of the Power House) to introduce urban youth to the miracles of nature hidden throughout Sam Smith Park”. See the blog post WE NEED A VISION FOR THE POWER HOUSE from May 2008 for more information about this.

  • Even if the skating trail could be proven a community need, surely there are better places to put it rather than paving over dwindling and precious green space (e.g. Prince of Wales Park, Amos Waites etc.)

  • People simply like the park, especially where the naturalized areas are, the way it is! They do not want any more cement in their park.
Posted by Terry Smith

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