Re: Urban Parks are meant to be used by everyone (Our View, Aug. 26)
“Urban parks are meant to be used by everyone,” says the editor, but John Phillips Memorial Park is being used by everyone who wishes to use this parkland.
Yes, it’s been a godsend for many of us during this long pandemic, not only for walking but also for many other activities, including jogging, biking, walking our dogs, picnics, and socializing safely. These activities allow us to take care of our mental health and not go crazy in these crazy times. It’s all possible because John Phillips Memorial Park is dedicated public parkland. Not an “urban park,” which is a vision of council that seems to try to compete with Langford and turn a rural town into a sprawling metropolis.
“To build more but smaller community centres” vision was approved by the residents in 2014. Then why don’t the Lions want to build a small one on their Murray Road property? We already have a community centre on Eustace Road, very near the park. The daycare would also be much more appropriate on Murray Road or at the Family and Children Services Centre, not next to the massive traffic on Otter Point Road.
As to the public consultations, the latest one about the park’s future last year had no mention of any of the Sooke Lions Club proposed structures, the questions were about more trees, trails, benches, lighting, etc.
Naturally, the district cannot fund and build everything. But to give away ( $1 for 100 years) the residents’ property, a gem of a park, to a private club while buying their property using taxpayers’ money from the parks reserve fund looks like a perversion. Or, at least, an injustice.
The district can offer Lions a place next to the new library or on any other undeveloped land while keeping John Phillips Park as dedicated parkland for generations to come.