10 September 2012

Another year of reduced maintenance in our parks and public spaces

As autumn approaches and the leaves start to change colour and fall to the ground you might wonder what happened to all the city gardeners this past summer. Parks and boulevards looked shabby again this year. The fine folks who maintain our parks and public spaces were around, but there were fewer of them trying valiantly to keep up with all the growth that happens over a warm season like our summer.

In my neighbourhood (Fraserlands) as I have reported before, the people took to the streets to tend the little bits of untended public space. This past weekend they were at it again. The neighbourhood sure looks better for their efforts! A hearty thank you to all involved.

One area that they took on that surely the City should be maintaining is the shared (pedestrian/bike) public path along Kent Ave North. This is well used path but has been fairly quickly disappearing because of the growth of the shrubbery between the pavement and the pathway. A few years ago city/parks crews came out 3 or 4 times a year to keep the greenery at bay. This maintenance dwindle to nothing this year making the path very dangerous for both cyclist and pedestrians. And so the Fraserlands Community Gardening Group with clippers in hand attacked the offending shrubbery. Unfortunately hand clippers are slow and awkward against unwieldy bushes. What could take the City an hour or two with their power tools and professional crew will take several days by volunteer hands.

This is doubly galling when you consider that we pay taxes for the maintenance of our public thoroughfares. This volunteerism is a form of double taxation for these kind folks.While taking bits of unused ground and transforming it into a rainbow of colours with lovely flowers is one thing, the maintaining of public thoroughfares is quite another.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, cutting the budget for maintenance just doesn't make sense.We all know that allowing graffiti to remain encourages more. Likewise letting public spaces deteriorate encourages vandalism and litter. Call the city (3-1-1) and ask them to cut the boulevards and verges, clean up the garbage, and maintain our parks and public spaces. Write to the Mayor, City Councillors and Park Commissioners and demand that they keep our city beautiful. After all, it is what they they were elected to do.

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