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LETTER: State of Port Alberni’s city parks shows lack of stewardship

Writer questions why parks are being closed and equipment not replaced

To the Editor,

In just over 20 years since the development of the Westporte Place subdivision, its two parks are gone. The large park was sold to Rainbow Gardens by the city in 2017 leaving only a small tots playground to maintain.

In March 2020 I emailed the Parks & Recreation director about the terrible condition of the tots park’s playground structures. Her reply included “Staff are currently exploring further options for repair/replacement of equipment in that same park this year.” Nothing was done until a park’s crew arrived on Nov. 17, 2022 to erect fencing and closed the play area due to unsafe conditions.

The city has also removed playground equipment from a number of other parks throughout the city because they were deemed unsafe and have yet to replace them.

Included in the Dec. 12, 2022 city council meeting agenda was a letter from Alberni Valley Minor Softball Association on the terrible conditions of ball fields and the frustration over the years of getting them to a decent playing standard.

There was a time when the city maintained high standards of quality for our parks, playgrounds, ballfields and trails. But over the last six years the condition of our city’s assets have continually dropped to the point where this administration’s answer seems to be to ignore, remove, or close them.

Funding repairs or replacement shouldn’t have been an issue but the city has redirected $1.6 million from the Parks Reserve fund as well has spent another $780,000 as of the last audit report for their quay-to-quay path with nothing to show for it. Coupled with the lack of stewardship shown by the Department of Parks & Recreation it’s no wonder things are falling apart.

It may be time to change the department’s name to the Department of Parks and Wreckreation.

Randy Fraser,

Port Alberni

Alberni ValleyOutdoors and RecreationPort Alberni

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