A request for more lights and garbage cans outside Orca Place and along the Jensen greenway was denied by Parksville council.
The vote was held on Monday, March 29, during a special council meeting. The issue first emanated from two letters received during a previous special council meeting on March 8, and had been tabled until council was provided more information by city staff.
One of the letters was submitted by Violet Hayes, the executive director of the Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS), and the second from resident Sonia Hawkins.
Hawkins wrote in their letter that it was “rather frightening” to have blind spots along the path at night, stating that light fixtures would help prevent crime, animal attacks and provide a general ‘peace-of-mind’ for people that walk the area at night.
“People whom have mobility issues would need to give themselves ample time should they see someone, or something, with ill-intent approaching,” wrote Hawkins, referencing the current state of the area.
However, during Monday’s special council meeting, Lucky Butterworth, the director of finance for the city, presented to council that the average cost per garbage can is approximately $2,500 to $3,000, including installation.
Butterworth also noted that a current wait list of six other requests for garbage can installations already exists, and that the director of engineering estimated it would cost approximately $116,872 to double the light fixtures along the greenway.
Coun. Al Greir and Coun. Doug O’Brien both agreed the area is “working the way it is now” and could not see how the setup, as is, would warrant an upgrade.
For the lack of clarity in the request, Coun. Adam Fras said council should deny the request, stating any additional light fixtures would still provide out-of-reach dark spaces along the greenway for wildlife to hide.
Concerning the garbage can request, Fras thought Orca Place’s Green Team was already doing a good job keeping the area clean, and pointed out the existing garbage can on McVickers Street.
“For anyone who’s going to be looking to throw away some garbage in the area, it’s within line of sight. So I don’t think adding additional garbage can resolve any problem, aside from a slight inconvenience,” said Fras.
O’Brien also added many other municipal areas and parks are actually removing garbage cans.
“The new model seems to be ‘you haul it in, you haul it out.’ It’s just being personally responsible for your own garbage and not expect the rest of taxpayers in Parksville to pay the cost of getting rid of this for you,” he said.