A City of Powell River councillor who was critical of the time it was taking to install playground equipment said he now understands why they process took time.
During community engagement reports at the Tuesday, November 5, committee of the whole meeting, councillor Jim Palm brought up the matter of the playground equipment installation.
He said if the committee remembered back to last spring, during his councillor report, he brought up the playground equipment being installed at Willingdon Beach. He said the equipment had been in storage awaiting installation since last October.
“I was growing increasingly frustrated that we couldn’t get that installed before the summer to help our youth and our toddlers out in our playground facility at Willingdon Beach,” said Palm. “I posed those frustrations during a council meeting and the Peak wrote an article on some of the comments I made that day. Well, lo and behold, I was speaking out of turn because I wasn’t fully educated and informed of how the process works.”
Palm said he received a firsthand education two weeks ago when he visited the Willingdon Beach archaeological site and spoke with the contractor out of Nanaimo that is onsite, overseeing the operation.
“I was very overwhelmed with the extent of the excavation on that site and the number of artifacts that were unearthed,” said Palm. “I was greatly appreciative of the education that I received directly from the contractor, who said it wasn’t a holdup from their department, but there was some holdup in red tape coming out of Victoria. I can appreciate how long that process takes, now, which I didn’t appreciate at the time I made those comments.
“I apologize profusely to anyone took the article in the Peak and the comments that I made in the wrong way. I was simply looking after the residents of Powell River who were contacting me and saying: ‘Where is the new playground equipment?’”
Palm said what he can say is the extent that they go to make sure the traditional territory of Tla’amin Nation friends and partners is very much looked after and due diligence is done thoroughly, professionally and totally before the playground equipment goes in.
“I’m very happy to report as a result of the process, this past weekend when the sun was shining, if you didn’t witness the number of people who were down there with their youth and toddlers on the new equipment, it was absolutely amazing,” said Palm. “When I went by, every swing was in action and every piece of equipment was being used.”
He said the preschool playground would also be installed at Willingdon Beach. He added there was also playground equipment going into Grief Point Park, which would be looked at thoroughly for its archaeological component, and DA Evans Park in Cranberry, which is outside the archaeological zone.
“I’m happy to report the new equipment is going in thanks to our community forest,” said Palm. “I apologize if anyone took my comments the wrong way. It takes a long time and I fully understand now.”
On another matter, Palm said he was happy to report that with the cooperation of BC Hydro, city staff will be working with the electric utility to make sure there are a number of banners on a number of poles on Marine Avenue for this year, and bigger plans are being worked on for next year, which will hopefully include new lights at Christmastime.
“That is in the works,” said Palm.