Public input impacts Parksville park master plan

Residents flock to open house following release of draft document

Meet the new park; same as the old park.

The final Community Park Master Plan was unveiled to Parksville’s city council during its regular meeting this week, bearing a number of changes from the draft plan shared on Oct. 4.

Keeping the Parksville Community Park name, refining recommendations on structure building and removal, and eliminating “priority” designation for specific recommendations were among the key changes following a public information meeting on Oct. 28, the project’s lead consultant told council.

“There were 130 people at the open house and we received 240 comments, so it was extremely well-attended,” said Pamela Shaw, head of the master of public planning program at Vancouver Island University. “Sometimes that’s because people really like something, and sometimes it’s because they don’t.”

Respondents at the open house were clear they were not interested in a name change for the iconic waterfront park, opting to maintain tradition and keep the city’s name.

Shaw and the VIU consultants who began the public consultation process on the master plan in January had suggested in the draft plan the word “community” was a designation that suited all of Parksville’s parks, and that Community Park should have a more distinctive name.

“People said, ‘No, it’s stood for a long time,’” said Shaw. “There was a suggestion that perhaps if there was any consideration for a name change, that it should go out to the wider public and have a level of public involvement. This is an issue that could take some time.”

In their presentation to council, Shaw and VIU master’s candidate Diana Jerop also clarified concerns around a proposed performance space and suggested relocation and removal of Parksville Curling Club.

“This is something that’s suggested as a long-term suggestion of the plan, which is a 20-year timeframe,” Shaw said of the curling club. “Nothing that’s going to happen immediately; that’s something that needs a much larger, much more involved discussion.”

The proposed performance space, ideally to be located at the boardwalk gazebo, was recommended for live music, theatre and art displays.

Open house attendees were concerned that meant the building of a substantial structure on the site.

“It’s not so much a building or structure, but it’s a place where things can happen; that’s the idea,” said Shaw.

Council approved a motion to adopt the master park plan in principal. Coun. Kim Burden then made a motion to establish a working group, made up of councillors and city staff, to discuss recommendations of the plan. That motion passed unanimously, with the group to set a first meeting date in January, 2018.

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