Re: The Victoria Park boardwalk petition. Thanks to the interest, concerns and signatures of more than 300 citizens we were able to present Mayor Clifford Lee with the boardwalk petition on Sept. 5. As the signers know, the petition was asking for a public meeting of city council on issues surrounding boardwalk in the Victoria Park Master Plan.
It was a pretty good meeting. The mayor was gracious and patient. He promised a public statement assuring people none of the proposed changes can be made without public consultation because of bylaws governing Victoria Park. He also committed to a public meeting to deal with boardwalk issues.
He thinks none of the proposed changes to the boardwalk will happen for many years since the plan is “just a guidance document” and there are other greater priorities. While that raises its own questions, they can be addressed at the promised public meeting.
We were told there have been numerous consultations that would have to counterbalance the opinions of those who signed the petition! We were told that there is public pressure to open the bike lane to motor vehicles. The mayor says there are seniors who say they don’t come to the boardwalk any more because that lane is closed.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us with a document intended to guide city council to do what people strongly object to. Council would have to seek public input before implementation of changes. However, the only change the “Master Plan” puts forward is the one raising such strong objections from the public. Presumably most petitioners are looking for the mayor and council to change what the “Master Plan” says will happen regarding the boardwalk.
We are now in a position to be heard and to look for change.
We told the mayor we are looking for a meeting of minds at the public meeting. That does not mean we want a “love-in.” It means we want a constructive and fruitful dialogue. Hopefully we will take advantage of this expected opportunity.
Bob and Maureen Hutcheson,