The public is being assured that proposed changes to McAdam and Rotary Park in the draft master plan that is being prepared by the City of Duncan are just conceptual in nature at this point.
Peter de Verteuil, Duncan’s CAO, said the city has received many ideas from the public for the parks, and city officials are looking for citizens to help identify the best ones to be prioritized for the master plan.
“Please note that ideas and locations of the potential amenities that have been presented so far are conceptual only,” he said.
“The goal is to determine if there is general support for them.”
Many park users have raised fears that the city already has preset ideas of how it wants the parks developed, and will pay little attention to what the public wants.
“One can’t help coming to the conclusion that this ‘public consultation’ initiative is nothing but a ruse to create an air of legitimacy for the imposition of a pre-conceived plan for Rotary Park,” said Drew Dangerfield in a letter.
“Once the naturalness of Rotary Park is ‘developed’ and ‘improved’ it will be lost forever and can never be regained. I urge city council to rein in the planning department on this matter.”
Glenda Kirk said she is “horrified” that the plan so far for McAdam Park appears to include a petting zoo, a nine-hole disc golf course, campsites, tree houses, three new tennis courts, caretaker’s housing, and fenced doggy areas.
“Once these changes are made, the natural beauty of Rotary Park, as hundreds of us have known, and the haven it’s provided for wildlife, will be irretrievably gone forever,” she said.
In a press release, the city states that during this past spring, it asked for public input and heard many valuable ideas about park safety, accessibility, additional recreational amenities, natural areas restoration, and more.
Last week, the City held two drop-in sessions at McAdam Park and at the Fish Hatchery to gather further input from the public, and additional input opportunities will be held over the next few months prior to council’s consideration of a draft master plan.
In a statement, the city said it encourages those who have not yet provided their ideas to do so through its survey, found at www.placespeak.com.
The survey can also be accessed in paper copy at City Hall.
The city is hoping to have this phase of feedback from the public completed by Dec. 17, and will be developing these initial ideas into draft directions for the master plan.
Mayor Michelle Staples said city staff are excited to be undertaking this level of consultation with neighbourhoods.
“If you have an interest in any of the projects the city is undertaking, please visit the city’s website for more details or call staff,” she said.
“It is important to remember to be respectful with staff when providing your input as they strive to receive feedback from all points of view. We want to ensure we hear from all interested parties.”
There will also be opportunities for the public to become involved and have their say on other city projects, including the Cairnsmore Neighbourhood Plan and the Trans Canada Highway Boulevard project.
Those who want input into the Cairnsmore Neighbourhood Plan can drop into City Hall and fill out a paper survey, or fill one out online at https://www.placespeak.com/en/topic/5759-cairnsmore-sustainable-neighbourhood-plan/
As for the Trans Canada Highway Boulevard project, which runs from the Cowichan River to Trunk Road, business owners and residents fronting the proposed section were invited to an open house in September.
Business and property owners are being contacted again by mail to ensure as much feedback as possible is received.