Picnic shelter on the way for Dick Murphy Park

Council supported in principle a picnic shelter for Dick Murphy Park last week despite objections from Coun. Andy Adams.

The city’s Senior Advisory Committee wants to build an area where people can gather, eat and take shelter from the elements.

Coun. Roy Grant said Dick Murphy park is well-used and a sheltered picnic area makes sense.

“Clearly what the seniors are looking for is the same thing families look for – and that’s shelter from the rain, from the sun, a place to have a birthday party,” Grant said.

But Coun. Andy Adams was hesitant to lend his support.

“I’m uncomfortable supporting this,” Adams said at last week’s Tuesday council meeting. “Not only because of maintenance costs but I’m not comfortable moving that forward with an election so close.”

He said a few things bothered him about the proposal.

“We spent a lot of dollars tearing down the shelter at Tyee Plaza; that was a real mess,” Adams said. “Also the vision for the park is an uncluttered landscape, based on a beach theme, and the concept is open, natural beauty.”

Adams was also concerned a shelter may attract illicit activity.

“When the interpretive centre was built in Willow Point it was intentionally built to have no seating in it, so as not to attract a less desirable clientele,” he said.

Chuck Saults, chair of the Seniors Advisory Commission, said in a letter to council that the committee had already relayed those concerns to Campbell River RCMP and they had been addressed.

Insp. Lyle Gelinas said the committee’s original design for a closed in shelter had “the potential to attract undesirable users” but new plans drawn out by the committee “to eliminate the closing in of the walls is encouraging and should eliminate some of the previous concerns.”

The committee also took into account the city’s tight financial situation and offered to pursue funding for the construction of the shelter on its own.

“The committee understands that the city is currently in a period of fiscal restraint and is not in a position to fund the construction of a picnic shelter,” Saults said. “There are however, funding opportunities within the community that the committee would like to pursue.

“The Seniors Advisory Committee is prepared to actively pursue funding for the construction of the project – approximately $50,000-$75,000 – however the city would be responsible for the annual maintenance.”

Grant said he was impressed by the committee’s initiative.

“The seniors aren’t even looking for funding (from the city). They’ll look for the funding,” Grant said. “Wow, this is the kind of partnership I like. These folks are willing to pay to build a city facility. I have no problem with supporting this in principle so the committee can go and pursue funding.”

Council supported the picnic shelter in principle with Adams opposed.

Adams put a motion on the table to defer the proposal to the second council meeting in December for the new council to weigh in on. Councillors Moglove, Adams and Stewart supported that motion while councillors Mennie, Storry and Grant were opposed. Mayor Charlie Cornfield was forced to break the tie and, voting in opposition, defeated the motion.

After receiving council’s support, the Seniors Advisory Commission’s next steps are to determine design and location for the picnic shelter.





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