• Saturday , 4 February 2023

Resident seriously disappointed by Turner Park options presented

Like Councillor Van Minsel, I am seriously disappointed by the shallowness of the options and report to council on the options for Turner Park. I’m sure district staff could have come up with this at a much lower price than an external consultant will charge.

Prior to the council meeting, I offered a few thoughts and questions to Mayor Fortin for when council debated the concepts but I don’t think they were passed on.

Concept 1, Full size baseball diamond:

Why is another one required in Peachland when Cousins field is underutilized? The other amenities (playground, dog park, perimeter track, multi-use court) are all in the line of fire from well hit baseballs. Is an expensive high net required or will council rely on insurance to settle injury claims?

Who will regularly clean up the dog park area to avoid smells and transmission of disease via dog feces?

Noise from barking dogs is already an issue in the area. Is the additional noise from the dog park a concern for council and if so how will the noise be mitigated?

Why no mention of washroom or changing facilities?

 Concept 2, The Commons:

Apart from the formalization of the dog park and additional playground facilities, this appears to be what we have now. How does this add value to a $3 million+ purchase?

The same comments as above on the dog park regarding cleanup and noise.

Why no mention of washroom or changing facilities?

I was also disappointed that feedback from the free form survey items inviting additional items for consideration were not reported on in the concept plan. That tends to suggest that the consultant knew what results she wanted from the survey and was not prepared to approach the report with an open mind. The sterility of the ideas presented tend to support that. 

Again, I am sure district staff could have done a better job at a lower price.

The survey also concentrated almost totally on historical use of the area and did not, for example, solicit information on how often the responders would use the park if certain facilities were made available. This makes it very difficult to properly justify any expenditure on upgrading facilities because you have no idea how much additional use would be driven. It should have been easy enough to add a question asking how many more times a responder would use the area if particular new facilities were offered. 

It would also have been an important cross check on the responses regarding importance of specific facilities. Using cross checks is a fundamental principle in surveys to ensure accuracy of responses.

There is a record of seriously overspending, the splash park and the $5 million overruns on the water treatment plant projects, for example. I suspect Turner Park will go the same way, justified by expensive external consultants and poorly planned public ‘consultation.’

Graham Smith, Peachland

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