To the editor:
When is a park not a park? When it’s a tourist centre.
The city’s proposal for City Park implies that a tourism centre is more important than a park, or that we already have too much park.
A tourism centre is necessary but locating it within City Park is not.
At a recent public hearing concerning the location of a paddle club on the Abbott Street lake front, the mayor surprised many with an after-midnight closing comment referencing nearby Kinsmen Park, and stating that perhaps we already have too much park in that area. This probably explains where the idea of locating the tourist centre in City Park originated.
To achieve that goal, it also makes sense to start with a ridiculous size to shock the public, then scale it back as a means of demonstrating that the people’s voices were heard.
Classic political strategy.
Judging from council’s subsequent comments regarding the centre’s size, it appears we will continue spending money to plan for a tourism centre in City Park.
The location at the corner of Harvey and Pandosy, where a McDonalds restaurant once was, is an example of something more ideal. It could also serve to beautify the entrance to our city with the creative incorporation of a few fruit trees and grape vines that define our region.
The hurdles of land acquisition and traffic flow are challenging but feasible if city staff are instructed to aggressively find a solution.
Finally, the concept of swapping City Park’s existing square parking lot with a loop road and angle parking is excellent. It would be especially beneficial during off seasons to give residents the ability to further enjoy downtown with perhaps a brown bag lunch or an evening parked to take in the scenic lake view with your sweetie.