LETTER: Resident conflicted over Rainbow Gardens expansion

A better location would have been former Sproat Lake School site

LETTER: Resident conflicted over Rainbow Gardens expansion

To the Editor,

After reading last week’s letters to the editor (July 25), I find myself quite divided on the subject of the expansion of Rainbow Gardens Senior’s facility. I have to agree with Lynn McKay’s displeasure of the original letter (One less park to play in, Letters, July 18) to the Alberni Valley News. I do agree, it wasn’t in good taste and that at some point, we will all become shufflers and strollers.

It will be a welcome addition to introduce new tenants into the Westporte area. On the other hand, it would have been far better for the two First Nation Bands, to build a brand new facility in place of the old Sproat Lake School. Presently, it stands derelict with an abundance of land and room for further expansion. The benefits are the fire hall, a bank, a great market and a far safer environment than where the facility is now being built. The city council sold the land in Westporte well below its value but the Sproat school property is already owned by the First Nations.

The city needs to address some very major safety concerns in the Westporte area.There needs to be another stop sign at the top of the hill on the corner of Russell Street and Russell Place to prevent continuous speeding traffic coming up and down the hill off River Road; the “30 km” sign isn’t working. There are also more than enough cars coming up the hill off River Road, using it as a turn-around, to head back onto River Road.

Why all the worry? A lot of Rainbow Garden tenants travel up and down the hill to catch a city bus, or in many cases, to use the River Bend Store. This is a very dangerous situation for those with walkers, wheelchairs and for those with limited walking ability making the trek up and down that hill. Believe me, it’s only a matter of time until someone is going to get seriously hurt. Last week my wife and I had to assist a resident stuck on the hill late at night (when his electric wheelchair failed) and push him back to the facility.

It’s obvious that city council really didn’t do its homework in the traffic and safety department. Although having lived in the area for less than two years, I feel that it would have been better to close off the Russell Street hill and use Falls Road to enter and exit the Westporte community and Rainbow Gardens.

Another concern are the number of children roaring down the hill on bikes, scooters and skateboards.

Hopefully, the new city council in October will address this overlooked situation. There is time left for it to be corrected, before an unfortunate fatality occurs.

Alf Thompson,

Port Alberni