Opinion

NO, REALLY: For the sake of a few tax dollars, forget Robron Park

Spending more city money to upgrade Robron Park is right up there with the “plan” to build a fancy gift shop beside Campbell River’s cruise ship terminal.

Think hard, you may recall the cruise ship dock – that $17-million white elephant that greets all boaters as they pass Campbell River.

The dock hasn’t seen a cruise ship in years.

And while we’re spending money, we may as well extend the airport runway even further in the hope that Boeing 777s land here. Well heck, the runway extension didn’t bring in the 737s as the city hoped, so why not go for the biggest of the big?

I know, this line of thinking is sure to get me hired as the next city manager. Hey, I can spend money I don’t have, just like anyone else.

This leads back to Robron, home of the unused lacrosse box. That’s not quite fair. The youngest players apparently use it...when the weather’s nice. However, the older teams won’t play a game there because it doesn’t conform to regulation size.

I enjoy the sport and like photographing the games. I even played lacrosse, but I still think the outdoor box was a waste of tax dollars. And now, council is pushing to spend more money on Robron Park to install a synthetic grass field. You know, an artificial turf field makes sense in the rainfall capital of Canada, but it shouldn’t go in at Robron.

The better location is Willow Point Park, home of the notorious all-weather playing field. This is the gravel “playing field” that has permanently scarred athletes for years!

Nevertheless, it DOES have lights which makes sense for a new turf field that would primarily be used during the rainy months, particularly for evening practices.

However, most councillors are basing their support for the new field on a recent survey of residents which indicated that unlit Robron Park was the top priority.

Most surveys, I find, aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. That’s because they limit the public to finite decision-making that’s based on what? A whim? A fancy? A gut feeling?

That’s the style of decision-making which got us the cruise ship dock where no boats stop and a long runway were next to no big planes land.

Public opinion polls and surveys are also the easy escape route for politicians who never have to accept responsibility because they’re only doing what the “survey says...”

I’ve always thought an election was a pretty good review of public sentiment. What our last municipal vote indicated is taxpayers are rightly concerned about public spending and the seemingly lack of concern of those who spend our money.

The new budget won’t alter that opinion, but hopefully council’s view of Robron will change for the sake of a few tax dollars.

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