Students want action on park

Area seen as more useful than just as a place to have a smoke

Some civically minded Ballenas students want to revitalize Nicholls Park on Pym Street in Parksville.

Sebastian Cooper, Kyle Wamer and Hayley Milne, founding members of the Ballenas Civic Action Group, made a presentation to Parksville city council Wednesday describing the history of the park and John Leonard Nicholls, the long time teacher and dedicated community member the park was named to honour in 1979.

While the park beside the high school is currently little more than a grass lot, referred to as “burner’s park” because students smoke there, according to coun. Carrie Powell-Davidson, the action group wants to add some more park-like elements to the site.

The civic action group, which grew out of their Civics 11 class at the school, surveyed what local residents would like to see in the park and designed three possibilities.

They presented council with three proposed budget levels from $8,000 to add a bark mulch trail, three benches and seven trees, up to a $20,000 version that would add more trees, picnic tables, benches, a garden, gazebo, fence and garbage can.

They stressed that those budgets were inflated since they are already exploring grants and donations from local companies and community groups, plus the project would take advantage of student resources to build the benches and plant the trees.

They are already working with the Coastal Community Credit Union and have made presentations to the Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis.

“I feel I want to stand up and clap for you, I’m so excited to see Ballenas students taking the initiative,” said coun. Carrie Powell-Davidson, who supported the idea along with all the other councillors.

Mayor Chris Burger said the student’s effort is exactly the kind of thing this council has been trying to develop — more youth interest and involvement in civic issues.

He suggested the student’s proposal to finish the project this summer might be a bit aggressive, but urged them to continue.