Letter: Precious parks need 24-hour caretaking

Commissionaires closing gates will not prevent fires, off road vehicles, rowdy parties, drug use, unauthorized camping.

To the editor:

The Central Okanagan Regional District board’s decision to remove the caretakers from a number of regional parks is an astoundingly short-sighted decision — the rationale of “standardizing after hours security” makes little sense, given the history, location of the parks, and the enormously valuable community asset that is being left unattended.

I had the privilege of working with regional district administrator Al Harrison during the time I was chair of the regional district board. Most of the parks in question were acquired because of the quiet determination of Al and the respect in which he was held, as he worked with the various individuals and communities to ensure valuable parcels of land became regional parks and not development sites.

Some of those parks were heritage sites and as such, came with some of the early buildings still intact, or at least workable they were an asset, not a liability as they provided space for onsite caretakers, which were essential for the security of these sometimes out-of-the-way sites.

The wisdom of having the caretakers soon became evident as park use increased and programming could be planned for these areas that were not only secure, but safe and inviting, with a person onsite who could assist when needed, provide information, and in many regards, be a welcoming host.

I suspect few of us can imagine the viciousness of the senseless vandalism that is so frequent in our parks — fires, off road vehicles, rowdy parties, drug use, unauthorized camping are only a few. Commissionaires closing gates will not prevent that.

Both those who intend to do harm, and those who want to enjoy the park, know that the onsite caretakers makes an enormous difference to both of them.

The original decision to have caretakers was made for a very good reason. Our parks are enormous community assets and it is essential we care for and protect them. Caretakers have successfully done that for many years, and we need them, even more so in this fast-changing community, to continue to do so.

Sharron J. Simpson, Kelowna

Just Posted

Truck fire forces evacuation of Lake Country gas station

No one was injured as firefighters quickly contained blaze at the Shell on Sunday afternoon

Gas leak contained near Lakeshore Road

Ruptured line was quickly contained Sunday morning by Kelowna Fire Department

High winds cause havoc for sailors

Kelowna Fire Department assists boats with broken masts on Okanagan Lake

Late night confrontation between two men in Peachland

RCMP was called to the scene of a physcial encounter on Saturday evening where one man was injured

Update: Police expand search in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Examination continues in Silver Creek, while another search happens between Salmon Arm and Enderby

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Rockets raise money for autism

Western Hockey League club hosts third annual Family Day Sunday in Kelowna

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

First-place Warriors edge Caps, visit ‘Backs today

West Kelowna scores twice in 25 seconds early in third to overtake Cowichan Valley in BCHL action

Grab a book; thank your librarian

All libraries are cornerstones of their communities and we celebrate them during library month

Five decades of volunteering

Even though she is approaching 70, Merle kindred continues to volunteer around the world

Most Read