Greening up St. Ann’s is a great idea

Writer says there are few reasons for older folks to live in downtown Campbell River

Dan Samson’s idea to turn St. Ann’s Road into a green space (reported last week in Paul Rudan’s column Hold the Pavement…”) is brilliant, and I hope the city establishment gives it some serious thought.

As the article points out, the idea solves a number of problems in the area. I want to add my perspective as well.

I built a home near the downtown area about two years ago. I wanted a view and hoped to be near a vibrant city centre. My decision was a mistake.

There is no advantage whatsoever to living near downtown. The neighbourhood that surrounds the downtown core contains a large number of rental properties.

I am generalizing, but it seems the people that occupy these properties are mainly concerned with roaring through the neighbourhood in their oversize trucks, poorly-maintained cars or motorcycles on their way to visit friends, attend a party or a bar, or shop at a box store, etc.

Most appear to have no interest at present in a relaxing downtown with boutiques, specialty food stores, coffee shops and unique restaurants, galleries, etc. They have other priorities.

For them – and others from the suburbs – who use Alder, the downtown is an inconvenience. They need to speed through it and around it to get to their destinations to the north and south.

Turning St. Ann’s into a green area would be a step in putting an end to this noise and spectacle that makes the downtown and surrounding area an uninviting place to live.

Secondly, I have the impression that city council and management think that creating more density near downtown is the key to a vibrant downtown. I disagree to some extent.

My belief is if that density simply attracts more of the same as live there now, then the downtown will never be more than it is now.

At the moment it is the older age group that is making our city grow. We must attract this different older population to live in the downtown because they will demand and support the higher end shopping and amenities.

To do this the city first needs to change the culture in the neighbouring areas. It needs to deal with the speedway known as Alder Street so an older population will want to live near downtown, but even more importantly the city must give this new population a reason to want to live in or near the downtown.

A large relatively quiet green space as envisioned by Dan Samson would be a remarkable first step towards that end. It would signal to everyone that the new downtown will be a better place.

At present there is no reason for anyone to live near the city centre. The suburbs provide a quiet place to live and are 5-10 minutes away.

A green space at St. Anns would be a bold and innovative first step to change this situation. I wonder if city council and management is up to the opportunity?

Howard Milner,

Campbell River