Letter: South Shuswap director’s comments on park purchase lack impartiality

Writer responds to column by CSRD director Paul Demenok

The AAP Guide (Alternative Approval Process Guide, 2018), dictates that municipal governments using AAP’s (10 per cent vote against) must follow these underlying principles: transparency, neutrality, engagement and stewardship of public trust.

In the Aug. 2 Market News, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Director Paul Demenok states, “studies show community parks increase local real estate values from 5 per cent to 20 per cent over time.”

Ask bordering properties of our current Blind Bay Park,whether their property values have gone up five to 20 per cent because of the park. How is this statement by a director neutral?

Again, quoting Demenok, “active park users have higher perceived health status, fewer doctor visits, lower blood pressure, decreased body mass index, etc.” Possibly, if people use a park in the fashion contemplated.

Read more: Column: Community parks benefit health and economy

Read more: Letter: Centennial Field purchase will add to tax burden

Read more: New South Shuswap community park proposed for Blind Bay

Centennial Field has existed for 48 years, and I don’t believe our citizens are any healthier because of it; we already have a park, a gym, exercise classes and numerous trail systems for those inclined. These statements are meant to be persuasive and not neutral.

Our CSRD signed first to spend $2.7 million, then asked you after to approve financing. Engagement, stewardship of public trust? Incredible!

In August 2019, Terry Barker wrote Shuswap Lake Estate residents informing them the Estates had “proposed to move Blind Bay road to the south, and thereby create a waterfront portion to the park.” This would have provided Barkers with some condo land (increasing the CSRD’s tax base) and would have created a free park waterfront area roughly the size of Salmon Arm’s waterfront area. Barker said the Estates even offered to pay the costs of moving the road, but there was a lack of CSRD support.

Area C residents, please pick up your ballots and vote!

Ken Smith

Blind Bay

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