Process makes a mockery of community planning

Chemainus – Municipal planning at its best! A year after the muni obtained the multi-acre old Chemainus Elementary School site and held a community “input” meeting as to its future, recent announcements indicate that a skate park is a go.

As a participant of that meeting, I recall many creative visions proposed for the site including multi-function parkland, single family residential housing aimed at the senior demographic, rejigging of local streets and yes, a skate park.

At the time assurances were given that when a concept plan for the entire area was ready the community would have additional opportunity to respond. Thus it is with profound disappointment in the process that I note recent announcements cover only a skate park with no reference as to how it will integrate into the eventual end use of the larger site. Attendees at an additional and recent skate park meeting hosted by the muni were told in no uncertain terms that the function of that meeting was to deal only with the design of the actual skate surface with input neither desired nor accepted on issues relating to the skate park’s impact on the larger site and local community. This was in spite of 80 per cent of the attendees being local concerned homeowners.

In this sort of planning you only get one chance to get it right. To drop up to 9,000 sq. ft. of concrete into the middle of this unique and valuable site without an overarching community supported plan in place makes a mockery of the “consultative planning” process and is an insult to those who have taken the time and effort to contribute.

Short of abysmal planning and communication skills on the part of the muni, one can only speculate as to what hidden agenda requires this indecent haste. We as taxpayers need to hold our officials to a higher standard of logic and transparency.

Allen Schernus

Chemainus