EDITORIAL: Your turn, Parksville

It would be unfair to say residents and visitors have not had a voice in the development of Parksville’s draft Community Park Master Plan.

But those who raised their voices at some of the recommendations in the draft plan released to council earlier this month may have their say this Saturday, when the city and the consultants from Vancouver Island University host an open house to discuss the document.

Related: Parksville draft park plan goes before public

The idea of change can often bring a stressful reaction, and it’s amplified when it’s wrought upon a historical, culturally significant or beloved landmark.

But, despite the fact that two trees were removed this week to facilitate the relocation and replacement of the water park, nobody’s planning to clear-cut Community Park or turn it into an amusement park or strip mall.

That said, the right changes, made in a measured fashion, can both improve the park experience and ensure the long-term future of park use and maintenance for coming generations.

The students and their advisors from the VIU master’s in community planning program spent the better part of this year consulting local residents, tourists and other park visitors for input into the plan. Every city resident had the opportunity to respond to an online survey, as well as meet with the students at local events.

Perhaps the draft plan, which is available to view on the city’s website, delivered some unanticipated ideas, including the introduction of a permanent food service facility and/or a public performance venue.

The concept of a user fee drew prompt response on social media, though there was no specific direction on how — or to whom — it might be applied.

Related: User fees, new name suggested for Parksville’s Community Park

The bottom line, though, is that Community Park will continue to provide residents and tourists alike a largely natural outdoor gathering space and a welcoming access to the beachfront.

We see nothing wrong with improving accessibility to that waterfront, or including a meaningful recognition of First Nations.

What are your thoughts? We certainly welcome opinions through your letters to the editor and social media comments. But there’s no better way to share than to go straight to the source.

Here’s your chance. Saturday’s open house runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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