Sandra Hobson, right, with Vancouver Island University student Zachary Haigh, left, discussing some possible improvements for accessibility and connectivity for parks and trails within Parksville at the World Cafe on Saturday, March 25. Lauren Collins photo

Sandra Hobson, right, with Vancouver Island University student Zachary Haigh, left, discussing some possible improvements for accessibility and connectivity for parks and trails within Parksville at the World Cafe on Saturday, March 25. Lauren Collins photo

Looking for input from community on parks, trails in Parksville

World Café is a partnership with the City of Parksville and masters of community planning students

The City of Parksville and Vancouver Island University students are looking for the public’s input for the future of parks and trails within the city.

On Saturday, VIU students hosted a World Café for residents to share their input on local parks. The World Café is a partnership with the City of Parksville and Dr. Pam Shaw and her masters of community planning students.

Shaw said the café is a way to have an in-depth conversation with people about something they are interested in. From the event, Shaw said, they would gather how residents feel on parks and trails and how to make community parks better.

“The students have completed an inventory of parks and trails across Parksville,” Shaw said. We’re looking at issues like connectivity, what parks should be developed, what parks should not be developed.”

Before Saturday’s event, the students formulated questions which were discussed by residents at each of the six different table discussions.

The topics included infrastructure, services, activities, wildlife and nature, accessibility and connectivity, as well as a wild card table.

At the accessibility and connectivity table, Sandra Hobson said it’s a topic near and dear to her heart “because beaches and trails and paths should be accessible for everybody, not just those who are able-bodied.”

Hobson, who is the chair for Access Oceanside Association, suggested a place to rent stand-up paddle boards, but also accesible boards and beach walkers or chairs. She also said a roll out ramp or mat down to the water would be good for people who can’t get over the rocks to the water.

“I’ve lived here almost three years and have not been able to put my foot in the water yet,” said Hobson who uses a walker.

Shaw said other information the students gathered was that residents would like to see an increased amount of nature.

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Shaw said the students are currently working on two projects with the city, one for the parks and trails plan and the other is a master plan for community park. She said they’re looking to wrap up the parks and trails plan by May, but over the summer, Shaw said, the students will also be gathering information from tourists.

The whole project, Shaw said, should be ready to present to Parksville city council in October.

Shaw said she really appreciates the city for giving the students and opportunity like this.

“To be actually out on the ground, working with community members, being in parks, understanding how things fit together in an urban environment; those are things we can’t replicate in a classroom.”

For more information, visit www.parksville.ca.