Letter: Current council made a mockery of public input

Not one councillor took up the cause of Strathcona development neighbours.

To the editor:

I live with my wife and three year old on the T intersection of Abbot Street and Christleton Avenue—one block south of the hospital, where I have lived for some 30 years. My office and living room afford a view of a few blocks of Abbot Street before it veers off out of sight. What an interesting spot for an office. I am in awe again this morning with the number of recreationalists using this corridor on this cold, cloudy, showery Sunday morning with near zero temperatures.

Jumping ahead to the spring, the baby quail, attempting to follow mommy across the street, scatter in every direction when a car overtakes them. It is sad, but no wonder, that their numbers quickly diminish as the spring unfolds.

And soon the children and adults are off riding their bikes to school and work, countless joggers and cyclists and canines are out for their daily workout, and the plethora of characters on roller blades and skate boards ripping down the street throughout the day, moms and dads pushing their toddlers in strollers, and romantics of all ages holding hands while getting some fresh air and recreation walking down Abbott Street. The dangers involved with the mixture of vehicular traffic with these recreational activities are immense, in my opinion.

We often witness two and three generations of family at a time on bikes heading down Abbott towards the stop sign, where a car is approaching without the driver giving any indication of his/her intentions at the intersection—turn right or step on it. The tourists often don’t know themselves what they intend to do as they approach the intersection. At this point of potential catastrophe, families tend to scatter, much like the baby quail, in panic. More accidents, if not fatalities, are clearly imminent from my perspective.

I am grateful, yet amazed, that I have, to date, only had to accompany one recreationalist to emergency. I helped an adult rollerblader, lying face down on the pavement with a wrist obviously severely dislocated, and escorted him to emergency, because of a near miss with a vehicle. The intersection is sporadically dangerously congested at many times throughout the day—toddlers on bikes on the sidewalk that spills onto the road on a collision course with speeding cars and athletes on wheels coming around the corner, not to mention all of the other recreationalists on the street and sidewalk (there is only one).

What goes around Christleton comes around Stathcona Park. Imagine the congestion in peek summer months around that intersection—for lack of parking, cars park blocks away to get to the beach—it is crazy.

What is even crazier in my opinion, and the opinion of the vast majority of my neighbours, is the incongruity of allowing the development of a large, intrusive commercial building in this heritage area across from the beach and this already over-congested recreational corridor which recreationalists have clearly taken possession of.

Being assured that “This is your neighbourhood” the majority of very well organized citizens, writing to council (85 letters opposed to this development and seven in favour) and attending the public meeting, spoke against this development by Dr. Heather Martin [to rezone a residence on Strathcona to allow a medical practice,  April 5, 2012 Capital News]. Yet the entire council sat there, in a meeting that went into the next day, apparently not hearing a word of the passionate yet objective protests of my neighbours. Not one councillor supported the neighbourhood.

I, and my neighbours, find it extremely troubling that not one councillor had the courage to be a lone wolf and support the heritage and safety concerns of the neighbourhood, rather than support the developer(s).

We think it is time to break up the pack. Please join us at the polls this week and bring an end to this kind of collusion by current council members in favour of development, with deaf ears to the public who are made a mockery of by council when they speak out and are not acknowledged for their legitimate concerns and efforts.

Dennis McGuire,

Kelowna