An airplane-themed play structure is set to be installed in Jubilee Park, and concrete foundations have been laid. (Hugo Wong/News staff)

Jubilee Park playground arriving in North Saanich over objections

Mayor surprised at ‘three or four’ complaints, says public was consulted

With construction now under way, some residents have expressed dismay about the new playground coming to Jubilee Park.

At a recent North Saanich council meeting, biologist Kerry Finley strongly opposed the new structure, said that the airplane-themed structure was a poor fit for the area, which is a Garry oak meadow, and that it “shows a callous disregard for an important vista, of nature, history, culture, you name it.”

In a phone interview, Councillor Jack Thornburgh said he supported the idea of a park originally, but thought it would be a simpler, rustic wooden structure “on a relatively small footprint” rather than metal and plastic. Now that the pad has been laid, Thornburgh believes the play structure will be more “intrusive visually”.

“Coming down from Hospital Hill, looking down, it’s quite a bucolic scene with a Garry Oak meadow, a few trees down there and picnic tables, then Holy Trinity Church, which is a heritage church, and a lot of people are thinking that to interrupt that kind of scene with a steel and plastic aircraft climbing structure would not fit in.”

Thornburgh felt that there was not enough public consultation, saying that he thought it was just in the North Saanich newsletter a few times.

North Saanich mayor Alice Finall says the planning has not been secret, so she is confused at the opposition.

At Jubilee Park’s official opening in August 2015, Finall said plans were available for the public to look at.

“We had well over 300 people in attendance,” she said in a phone interview. “We had pictures of the proposal for the park, including these rather exotic climbing frames, we had pictures of the four proposed phases of the park, and we had a great deal of discussion with people at the time. It’s been on our website for a long time.”

Finall says she has received “at most maybe three or four letters” opposing the park or the type of structure. She also said that some letter writers who opposed the structure wanted more natural materials. At the meeting, Finall said no Garry Oaks would be removed.

Thornburgh thought that the Council was enticed by the comparatively small cost to taxpayers due to a $60,100 Canada 150 grant from the federal government, and the fact that the Victoria Airport Authority essentially donated the land (it is leased to the District for $1 a year as the land is owned by Transport Canada).

A crowdfunding campaign to make up a $44,000 shortfall has only raised about $7,000 so far, so Council approved an additional $25,000 with Thornburgh being the lone dissenter. The total budget is now $225,000.

“The lesson I’ve learned is to be more diligent from the start because some things look like a good idea and you sort of think ‘okay that does make sense, we’re short on playground space, we should go for it,’ but I don’t think we can afford to be influenced too much by things like grant money without taking a finer look at it.”

Just Posted

Victoria hopes to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2030

Business plan to be created, region to request its use as a pilot community for project

Sooke rescinds bench letters, offers apology

District sent out letters asking $2000 for maintenance from those who purchased memorial benches

Six-year-old Sooke boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick boy asks government to help fund treatments

Bird watchers gear up for annual count

Count takes place in Langford, Colwood, Victoria, North and Central Saanich

CRD awards contract for waste processing facility at Hartland

Facility will process residual solids into so-called Class A biosolids

VIDEO: Oak Bay senior boys basketball takes Tsumura title

Junior and senior teams host Gary Taylor Classic starting Thursday

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The top-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Which show did you cheat on your spouse with by watching ahead?

Ensemble Laude women’s choir to perform in Victoria, Oak Bay this weekend

Choir will sing enchanting winter hymns at Champagne Tea, Spellbound

B.C. polygamous leader argues charge should be dropped in charter challenge

Winston Blackmore argues some of the evidence shouldn’t be used against him

LETTER: Proportional representation makes votes count

Fair Vote Canada representative responds to Tom Fletcher column

B.C. dog owners warn about chain collars after puppy almost strangled

Young Rottweiler pup couldn’t breathe after another dog caught tooth on his collar

Most Read