Capital Daily

The Future of Colwood's Parks

Episode Summary

Councillor Gordie Logan joins to talk about the ongoing consultation with the public over Colwood's parks. He'll take us through some of the ideas being presented, the issues some folks have with Colwood Creek Park, and when the changes will come.

Episode Notes

Councillor Gordie Logan joins to talk about the ongoing consultation with the public over Colwood's parks. He'll take us through some of the ideas being presented, the issues some folks have with Colwood Creek Park, and when the changes will come.   

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Episode Transcription

Disclaimer: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.  

Jackie: Hi, my name is Jackie Lamport. Today is Monday, July 26. Welcome to the Capital Daily Podcast. Today on the show, the municipality of Colwood is consulting the public over the future of their parks. Today we speak to councillor Gordie Logan about some of those ideas and when they could be implemented, and some of the major concerns for some of the parks. Gordie, thank you so much for joining us. 

Gordie: Thanks for having me. I'm excited. 

Jackie: Tell me about the series of meetings that the council has been doing.

Gordie: We have just finished up a Parks and Rec master plan which really will serve to guide the city in determining what type of resources we need to allocate to our parks and point us in the direction in which we need to invest in these parks. So we've completed that process now, and we're in the middle of drilling down a bit deeper in specific parks. We're looking at doing park master plans for Coldwood Creek Park, Lookout Lake Park and Ocean View Park. And part of that process involves bringing the community together to hear what they love about the park, what they want to see happen with the park and what they don't like about the park currently.  

Jackie: Has there been a lot of engagement?

Gordie: There has been, and it's fantastic. And it's been wide-ranging, so, no specific themes, just lots of different opinions, which has been helpful. 

Jackie: What are some of the ideas that have stuck out to you, both positive and negative? 

Gordie: Well, it really depends on the park. So neighbourhood parks such as Ocean View Park, they're like, "Hey, can we have expanded playgrounds, maybe some benches," that sort of thing. You contrast that against Colwood Creek Park, which has turned into a regional park. And it draws people from everywhere. So they're saying, "We need more facilities for dogs because it's a hub on the West Shore for dogs. But we also want to see more amenities for kids and seniors." So it was really quite diverse in that particular Park. And then you've got Lookout Lake Park, which is on top of Triangle Mountain. And it's hidden in the middle of nowhere. And so people are saying, "We don't want a lot of changes here, but we need to address some of the parking challenges." So it's been quite diverse. 

Jackie: Last Wednesday was the consultation for Ocean View Park. What kind of specific feedback did you hear at that event? 

Gordie: Well, we heard that the community loves that park. It's nestled right in that residential neighbourhood. And so lots of families. So we hear, "We love this park as it is, maybe a few tweaks, maybe add a little bit of play equipment to the site, and maybe a little bit of fencing and that sort of thing." And you know what, it would be nice to have another picnic table or shelter where families can come and gather, and they can have picnics and birthday parties and all that jazz. But really, they just love that park the way it is. 

Jackie: And how will this feedback play into the physical changes that the council is going to make? 

Gordie: That's an excellent question. So the consultants will take all that information back from the on-the-ground information gathering and the information that we received through let's talk call and put together some draft plans. Based on that feedback, council will determine what type of budget over the next ten years we need to allocate to making those plants reality. And that's what's really exciting to me because we haven't done this before. So it's telling me that the communities are changing. There are increased demands on the park. And people have expectations that are different from even when I got on the council 22 years ago. And so here's a chance for the council and the city to react and respond and accommodate those new wishes. 

Jackie: Okay, so somebody who said on Wednesday that they want a picnic table, can they expect it soon at all? 

Gordie: I'm not sure about soon, but certainly, it will get woven into the plan and budget discussions once we approve those individual plans. 

Jackie: Speaking of the different feedback that you're getting for the various parks, a couple of days ago, you tweeted that there's a wetland at Colwood Creek Park, and a lot of people were concerned about water containing parasites for their dogs. You mentioned in your tweet that people were calling to put up fencing along the area. What did you think about that?

Gordie: Yeah, I can appreciate from a dog owners point of view how they might be concerned and that the city should be taking some action to keep dogs out of the wetland and right now, there's water at Colwood Creek Park is surrounded by a couple more wetlands and drainage that really filter any pollutants out. And in one particular wetland, there's still some standing water, which is late for this year; it's unusual. But without standing water comes disease, sometimes with fowl and all that. So it's tough for the city to navigate because there's an expectation that dog owners have limited control over dogs on leash or off-leash. So my expectation is that it's not a city issue, that we should be investing in the dog owners who should recognize the risk and take measures to keep their dogs out of an area such as that. Most of these dog owners, all of these dog owners that frequent the park, know the park well and should plan accordingly. 

Jackie: Do you think that there's any responsibility for the city? Maybe the solution isn't a fence, but maybe to put up signs as a warning for dog owners? 

Gordie: I think that's reasonable. And even in the short term, even if it was a sandwich board or something. I think that's totally reasonable and doable, and it's probably more cost effective, frankly. 

Jackie: And as you said, the water left over right now isn't an anomaly for this late season. So perhaps fencing seems a little bit expensive given that it wouldn't apply every season. 

Gordie: Right, and we could turn up a sign or do something temporary like that. 

Jackie: Yeah, what other things are being considered for that park? 

Gordie: Well, that park I don't know if for those that haven't had a chance to walk through that park it's it's a huge Park it's and it's really divided into three kinds of sections, and there's a creek that actually runs right through it. So the possibilities are endless, and dog walkers love this park because it's one of the only parks in the region that is wide open. It's a huge field, so their kids and pups can run around without fear. The dog owners are fearful that the city is going to come and ban dogs, which is definitely not our intention. I walk my dogs there daily too. But young families are starting to move in, in Langford and call other people that are saying, "You know what, we love this place. We want more amenities, so we would love it if you expanded the play park, splash park, and playground. And what COVID has taught us, too, is that people want spaces to enjoy, and they want to be in the outdoors. So we've had things like yoga groups, exercise classes and stuff that want to come and use our parks. And when we make it nice and, and, and attractive and inviting, then it attracts those types of users. Colwood Creek Park will be a tricky one; it's going to be, I'm sure divisive because there's a whole wide range of different users that have a whole whack of different opinions. But I think we can accommodate almost everybody. 

Jackie:  What is your favourite idea for your favourite park?

Gordie: My favourite idea for Colwood Creek. I'm a bit biased because I live in the area, and I see so much potential. So we could invest money into that part to enhance the public realm. So make it inviting, have some art, some landscaping features, increase the splash park, you know, the more kids that are running around screaming, having a great time, that is better from my perspective. I'd really like to see the city focus on that part and make it more user-friendly for those with mobility challenges. So we're seeing more seniors using the park. Adult daycares come with their clientele utilizing the park. So I'd like us to invest in infrastructure that enables and encourages more of that/ 

Jackie: Gordie, thank you so much for joining me today.

Gordie: My pleasure.