Consultant Mike Enns discusses the existing conditions at Maccaud Park with Ken Jones.

Consultant Mike Enns discusses the existing conditions at Maccaud Park with Ken Jones.

Maccaud Park funding questioned

The first of three meetings to map out the future of White Rock’s Maccaud Park couldn’t compete with Game 7 of the Stanley Cup quarterfinals last week.

Fewer than 50 area residents turned out to Kent Street Activity Centre during the information-gathering event, held from 4-8 p.m. April 26.

Regardless, the input gleaned is a good start on figuring out what citizens want and need for the 3½-acre plot, organizers say.

“We’ll have a clear idea about where the community is going in about one to two weeks,” said Rob Thompson, White Rock’s director of engineering.

Maccaud Park, sold to the city in 1968, is located on Kent Street between North Bluff Road and Thrift Avenue, and has been popular for years amongst Earl Marriott Secondary students and area residents for years.

Discussions on its future were brought to the forefront in March, after two dozen alders deemed hazardous were removed.

The site is identified in the city’s 2007 Parks Master Plan as an area that could serve as a neighbourhood park if more facilities were provided.

Those who attended the April 26 meeting suggested everything from an outdoor aquarium and space for hockey, to adding nothing more than a playground. Marge Needles, a member of the Kent Street Activity Centre for seniors, supports minimal changes.

“Keep it simple and spacious,” she said. “I don’t think we need to fill a park up with a whole bunch of stuff.”

Joan Lewis, another KSAC member, agreed. She described the city investing in the park as “like a slap in the face,” in light of fundraising the seniors have had to do for the centre.

Clive Griffiths, chair of the activity centre’s executive committee, said he hopes the centre will be given due consideration in the process.

“At the moment, there’s very little mention of it,” he said.

While one man criticized public notification of Tuesday’s meeting, Thompson said about 500 letters were delivered to area residents, and 375 flyers were sent home with students from nearby Peace Arch Elementary. The hope is for youth input, Thompson said.

Project consultant Mike Enns, a landscape architect, noted the park is now used more as a thoroughfare than a destination. Improvements could include elements to accommodate all age groups, he said. Suggestions collected will be compiled into three options. Those options will be presented to the public in June.

Thompson encouraged those who have an interest in the park to make their views heard.

“It’s wide open,” he said. “This whole process is to look into the future and get people to consider what’s not here now.”