When A Park Is Not A Park   4 comments


Now in its 23rd month of renovation

Now in its 23rd month of renovation

Readers of this blog will remember that our guest columnist Mr. Grumpypants wrote a diatribe about the closure of a park in our neighbourhood a while back. (Please see Mr. Grumpypants Rides Again, August, 2013. I mean, really, please read it otherwise this post won’t make a whole lot of sense.)

A wonderful thing happened as a result of that post. Whereas the park had stood empty, but fenced, for almost a year when the piece was published, the very next day there was a flurry of activity around that park that honestly made me think that someone of some importance somewhere must have read the thing and that heads had rolled and action had been taken and all that jazz.

They didn’t manage to get the park finished before the snows of winter fell upon us, but one could see that at least they had tried, and hope sprang eternal for the opening of the park this spring.

And it did. It did open, for a few glorious weeks, and there were people in it again, and things seemed to be on track for our little park. I wondered if they even considered erecting a statue of Mr. Grumpypants in the park, for all he had done to make it happen.

But then, something happened, I guess, to cause the green fence to come up again, and now, still, in its 23rd month of renovation, the park is separated from the thousands of apartment dwellers in the neighbourhood who would love to feel a little grass under their asses, but for some unknown reason are unable to.

In that brief time that the fence was down and the park was actually being used, which may come to be referred to as the golden age of this particular corner of town, a rather predictable eventuality unfolded, which was witnessed by my friend Martin who happens to live in an apartment that looks down on the park.

The skaters came. The boys on their skateboards. I bet they could hardly believe their eyes. I bet they felt like Cortez discovering the Aztec Empire. Here was a park with a concrete path running around it and low benches perfect for jumping up onto – you probably couldn’t design a better facility for skateboarding if that’s what you set out to do in the first place. But in the case of this particular park, one would have to assume no one ever thought it through enough to come to this eventuality.

According to Marty, one lady in his apartment complained about “those damned kids and their noise” which caused the police to have to come to the park and essentially kick out the only people who had actually used it in a year and a half.

Shortly thereafter, the fence went back up. Some landscaping happened making the inaccessible park look all the more desirable. I haven’t seen a soul working in there for a few days now, but still the fence stays up during these first beautiful days of our all too brief summer.

Well, I’m not a landscape architect or a city planner, but if anyone is out there reading this who has any influence in the matter at all, I have some thoughts. Take down the fucking fence. Let us into the fucking park. And if you didn’t want skaters in there, you should have thought about that before constructing a facility so perfectly suited to their needs.

Honestly, 22 months! It has to end. Just take the fence down and let the people back into the park. Surely that’s not asking too much.

Thanks for reading . . .

Here’s Joni!



Posted June 3, 2014 by Eugene Stickland in Uncategorized

4 responses to “When A Park Is Not A Park

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  1. I read this in July and wonder what the outcome was ….

    Cement and asphalt – 2 Wonderful little green space for the citizens – 0 …. what a shame.

  2. thanks again for bringing our beautiful & (so far) useless park to public attention. The gardeners took 2 days to remove & re-sod a small patch of grass. Now how difficult is it to do some patch work? These guys ( private company, not City Parks) are just padding their wallets when all I want to do is put my well-padded behind on the picnic table-benches or the lawn and peacefully enjoy inner city green space!

  3. Eugene, … I understand the frustration … it’s been idle for TOO LONG, especially as the original plan was to be open “spring of 2013”. Maybe reparations of the flood got in the way. There is hope however. I’m told an “official opening” happens on June 19. I suppose the fence remains up so us no-account residents don’t make the place untidy before the “big wigs” get to cut the ribbon. I can also empathize on the skate-boarders, “what did they expect”, but would like to add that the damage done to the edges of the concrete benches was significant after just 3 days. I’m sure they would have been a crumbling mess by opening day. As an afterthought they’ve installed the standard metal “inhibitors” …go figure!. So just another two weeks and MAYBE, after two years, we’ll have our park back. OH! and of course there’s the very innovative piece of “art” (installation) that’s appeared there, … I love it!

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