Campbell River seawalk, park ‘won’t be forgotten’

The community ranked the completion of Robron Park as the number one project

An extension to the Seawalk and an expansion of Frank James Park will not be part of council’s five-year budget plans, in order to make room for an all-weather field at Robron Park.

Although $250,000 to extend the Seawalk from Maryland Road to Jubilee Parkway as well as $283,000 for Frank James Park improvements were taken out of the financial plan, Coun. Andy Adams stressed it doesn’t mean the projects are being forgotten.

“What I’m painfully trying to do is send a message and a signal that Robron has been a priority for previous councils and this council and is the number one priority, with Big Rock Boat Ramp being the number two priority, of the community in the Strategic Parks Plan,” Adams said.

Coun. Mary Storry agreed.

“It’s a priority of mine, it’s a priority, I believe, of council’s and the community’s and it’s a good step,” she said.

In a self-selected parks survey in which 644 responses were tallied, the community ranked the completion of Robron Park as the number one project, and Big Rock Boat Ramp placed second.

“I’m pushing for having a parks plan reflective of the Strategic Parks Survey,” Adams said but added that’s not to diminish the importance of the Seawalk and Frank James projects.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’re all absolutely incredible projects that will enhance the aesthetic and recreational value of Campbell River.”

At Tuesday’s budget planning meeting, council directed city staff to come back to council within 60 days with a plan for financing a synthetic turf field at Robron Park in possibly the year 2014, as well as options for the Seawalk and Frank James.

Adams said the motion was designed to “give staff the broadest flexibility in coming forward with a plan” and that having the Seawalk and Frank James projects committed in the budget would “inhibit staff in coming back with (financing) options.”

Adams’ motion was passed by council, with Coun. Claire Moglove voting in opposition.

Moglove said she didn’t like putting off the other improvement projects.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to delete those two items in order for staff to come up with a financing plan for Robron,” she said. “I don’t think it’s necessary in my view to delete it at this point because it sends a signal that we don’t want to do the projects.”

Moglove did, however, thank Adams for moving the Robron project forward .

“He’s been very passionate about this project and I applaud his efforts for bringing this into fruition.”

Council also approved an option that will keep the Parks Parcel Tax at $25 in 2013 but increase to $50 in 2014-2017.

This year the Parks Parcel Tax will fund four projects carried over to 2013: Baikie Island Restoration-$13,000, Big Rock Boat Ramp-$68,000, Parks Information Program-$17,000, and a Parks Irrigation Strategy-$43,000.

It will also fund part of the Downtown Revitalization project ($250,000) and a portion of the Centennial Park upgrades ($236,000). Funding, to the tune of $225,350, will also come from a federal grant the city secured in December.

The Centennial Park project involves upgrading the park’s existing practice tennis court into a multi-sport court and replacing the aging playground structure with a natural playscape that incorporates natural elements such as boulders, logs, water and plants to create a natural play environment for kids.