Driving through downtown on a beautiful Friday afternoon, I stopped to photograph the excavator peeling up the pavement from St. Ann’s Road.
I was standing just outside the barrier, at the intersection with Shoppers Row and the Island Highway, when I heard a voice.
“You! You’re a reporter aren’t you?” asked realtor Dan Samson as we shook hands. “What would you think if we made all of this green space?”
He swept his hand in front of the construction zone to illustrate exactly where he was talking about.
It surprised me to hear that, especially from someone who sells real estate and whose business depends on economic development. But Samson is also treasurer of the Campbell River Downtown Business Improvement Area and his office stands right beside the construction zone.
“Think about it,” he urged. “We could have an almost continuous park from city hall right down to Robert Ostler Park on the foreshore…”
He smiled as my brain conjured up the mental image of grass, trees, benches and paths along this stretch of road being torn up as we spoke.
The work is part of a downtown redevelopment project. The city is burying most overhead services, replacing old underground services, spiffing up the sidewalks and adding a whole bunch of greenery.
And the work coincides with the construction of Seymour Pacific Development’s new office, just up the road from where we stood.
I nodded my head in agreement as the image of Samson’s vision became a little clearer in my head, and he continued on with the sales pitch.
By turning this area into green space, he said, the wonky intersection by Chances Casino would be improved, traffic pressures would likely lessen for Alder Street residents, it would make the area far more friendly for pedestrians and their four-legged friends, and there would be a nice green belt stretching from the sea to city hall.
It’s a great idea, but destined to be paved over by the city and driven over by motorists who can’t imagine being inconvenienced for an extra minute.
It’s also unfortunate for Alder residents who are fed up with the higher traffic volumes and speeding commuters – largely created by the stop light nightmare on nearby Dogwood Street which runs parallel to Alder.
The new construction won’t do a thing about traffic on Alder street and just to make sure the residents are really ticked off, the city recently painted new road lines on Alder just below 7th Avenue.
The new lines effectively eliminate all roadside parking for residents’ guests which, in a way, does affect their property values. Perhaps if they had a new park at the end of the street, they wouldn’t feel as if they were being “driven crazy.”