Attention is drawn to your April 7 front-page story (Fostering their park). In the meantime, its content continues to attract attention by letters, meetings and even appearing on radio and TV.
It seems beyond all logic and understanding that out of other available options to the City of Parksville (other parks, sites, empty lots, even a vacant unused motel), it has chosen the neighbourhood, family-oriented Foster Park for overnight camp/tenting by the city’s homeless population, leading undoubtedly to transients as well.
Foster Park is considered to be a children’s park and home to all its surrounding neighbourhood families, from toddlers to seniors. It takes pride itself in its most recent refurbished children’s playground and greatly enhanced modern equipment.
Notwithstanding an applied restriction of 40 metres from the playground, and of a time limit from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., it is felt the city’s intended use of the park deserves much more forethought before opening it to any overnight camping.
It is a well known fact that most homeless/transient camping areas eventually disclose their discards. It follows that very realistic safety issues and security risks could occur, not only within the park itself but to all the surrounding community areas and to all who use and enjoy the park.
In my view, giving any tent/camping allowance in the middle of a strictly residential area would offer no satisfactory solution for the homeless. It would however, have a very negative impact on the entire surroundings including a value depreciation of all the associated properties.
It is not difficult to imagine also how the developers, marketing groups and realtors must be receiving the debated tent/camping bylaw for Foster Park. It sits directly adjacent to the very developments they are promoting.
It is hoped the mayor and council will re-open their discussions and give more logical consideration and fairer balance to accommodating the justifiable concerns of all the taxpaying residents/friends of Foster Park and find more suitable shelter and facilities to truly help Parksville’s homeless.