To the editor:
Re: Pandosy Waterfront Land Charade
In 2011, there was a public hearing on the waterfront land along Cedar Ave. and Abbott St. Citizens from across the city crammed council chambers demanding that all of their precious waterfront land be kept for a park. The council of the day listened and turned down the foolish idea of selling most of it for commercial and residential development.
Despite this, the city is carrying on its agenda with a charrette on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 to make decisions on using the land. Charrettes are usually slanted to favour the city’s agendas, the chamber of commerce and developers etc.
These scheduled charrettes are a charade because the four waterfront lots along Walnut St. and the two city-owned lots east of Walnut St. are omitted. Also, citizens that want all the lakeshore property for park only, won’t be allowed to be represented at the charrettes. The media and public aren’t allowed to witness the event. Why all this closed-door discrimination and sneaky secrecy?
Why not simply have a public referendum to decide the waterfront land issues during the civic election this fall at minimal costs? The city doesn’t want real democracy because this forces it to do what the people want.
Our waterfront land is a rare beautiful gift of nature, best used as a park haven to uplift the souls of citizens and future generations. It is scarce. As the population multiplies, people will need more waterfront park with sandy beach; not less. Already, there has been too much public waterfront land sold off and wrecked by commercial and residential buildings.
Why sell-off and wreck more rare public waterfront? There is plenty of land for commercial and residential development along the east side of Abbott and Walnut St over to Pandosy St and Lakeshore Rd. Why not use the city-owned properties east of Walnut St on Meikle and adjacent properties for commercial development?
Many parks are created without development on site. Citizens, don’t believe the city’s phony story that development is needed to recover costs of the land and to create the park. The cost of benches and planting grass seed is small. The city bought the properties at bargain prices and the rents were steadily increased. If the land isn’t paid off by now, then something is haywire at city hall. Has the park fund and land reserve account vanished? Do we need a judicial inquiry?
The Mission Creek Greenway was built with donations from the public and service clubs etc. So, why not do the same for our waterfront park? If the city can waste $800,000 on the silly iconic outhouse in City Park and on the obscene $250,000 salary for the city manager, then it can afford the park.
Citizens; send your concerns to Strategic Land Manager, Graham Hood firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 250-469-8469, fax 250-862-3349, or to the mayor and councillors.