Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Election is over- Back to other things, lets start with Cuthbert Holmes Park

We have our new councils and there will now be a break for two years before anything starts at all with the local elections. Time for me to get back to blogging about my ideas and visions for this city, let me start with the Cuthbert-Holmes park.

Cuthbert Holmes park is a decent sized park close to the core of the city. It is right next to Tillicum mall, Silvercity and Pearkes Rec Centre. It covers an area of about 75 acres. It is badly underused.

The park has some nice forest trails to walk along through the park, but it is generally ignored by Saanich. Here is my list of what the city could do to improve Cuthbert Holmes:

  • Build a decent kids playground on the eastern edge close to Tillicum mall and another on the western edge close to the parking lot that comes off of Admirals.
  • Have signs indicating the park is there. The small playground on Qu'appelle street gets a sign, but this big park gets nothing.
  • Offer chip trails for running and exercise stations like were done in many parks in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Clear out all the blackberry bushes, around 15 acres of the park is overrun with them. This area is dead to native plants and the public.
  • Make better connections between the park and others. There needs to be something at Highway #1 and Admirals/Mackenzie to connect the northwest corner of the park with the Galloping Goose trail. The trail up Colquitz Creek is not signed at all. There is no indication in Pearkes that the park is there and that it is outside the backdoor. There is a playground just over a bridge from the park on Ker ave but no indication in Cuthbert Holmes that is there. A connection between Cuthbert Holmes and the Hampton fields would also make a lot of sense
  • How about some basketball courts, a few tennis courts and some other facilities for adult sports activity? How about a place for pickup road hockey?
  • Add some tables on the mall side of the park so people can sit outside and enjoy the place.
  • How about some annual community events in this park? Encourage a few festivals.
  • Create an outdoor stage area for concerts
There is nothing in what I am suggesting that is expensive or would take a long time to do. Doing these things would make this park a focus of the community as opposed to the black hole it is becoming.

I know a lot of people that will not use the wooded area alone or at night due to fear. There are areas where people are building shelters for themselves and making it unpalatable to go for a walk. The park is a community divider at the moment - the people on the various edges do not see this place at the centre of their community.
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