Rotary Park is good just the way it is; further development not needed
At least twice now the City of Duncan Planning Department has set up displays in the parks, ostensibly seeking input from the public about “possible” upgrades. I have spoken twice with a representative from Planning at those events and she has made it abundantly and explicitly clear that she has a plan already in mind that involves inserting more and different activities into Rotary Park.
She refuses to listen to or consider the option of leaving Rotary Park in its most natural state with only minimal improvements for access. She is adamant that something is going to be done and it has been obvious from our conversations that she is only interested in ideas from the public that fit within her preconceived plan for “more”. The form and content of the “Input Questionnaire” that was distributed, with its loaded and leading statements, confirm this. The assurances given in person that these are all just options for discussion is disingenuous, at best.
She cites a few spurious justifications for developing Rotary Park. First, she says the City is growing and we need to make provision for the increased population. What? Duncan has a limited, defined geographical area. The population may be growing but certainly not by leaps and bounds. The population of North Cowichan is indeed growing but we residents of Duncan rejected amalgamation, yet our Planning department seems to want to plan as though amalgamation had happened.
Second, she says that Rotary park needs to be made more child friendly. Increasing the presence of small children in an off leash dog area is a recipe for problems. What would happen inevitably is that the dog area would be increasingly restricted. Besides, Centennial Park is already minutely planned with amenities specifically designed for children. Every area doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t try to be, everything for everyone.
Third, she says that everyone has a right to use the park since, after all, they are taxpayers too. That’s true but who is it that wants to use the park in its present state but is being prevented from doing so? I have been walking there everyday for thirteen years and I see a very eclectic mix of people: old and young, fit and disabled, singles and groups, dogs and no dogs. Problems are exceedingly rare.
Fourth, she says more activities in the park means more eyes and that will make the park safer. What? It’s not unsafe now but she says it “might” become unsafe in the future. Yes, from time to time one encounters the occasional homeless person or transient but that happens very infrequently, without incident, and the regular walk throughs by a Commissionaire seems to keep things under control. In fact it happens far less frequently than on the main downtown streets of Duncan.
One can’t help coming to the conclusion that this “public consultation” initiative is nothing but a ruse to create an air of legitimacy for the imposition of a pre-conceived plan for Rotary Park. Once the naturalness of Rotary Park is “developed” and “improved” it will be lost forever and can never be regained. I urge City council to rein in the Planning department on this matter.
McAdam is another matter. It is already developed to a large extent and is a very high activity area. More development there would not be out of place.