Downtown park in ‘disrepair’

People sleeping in the recently created corner lot park

Neighbours try to keep Raymond Park clean.

Neighbours try to keep Raymond Park clean.

It was created just a few years ago on an empty corner lot in order to provide a place for a short rest and relaxation in the downtown.

As Jennie Raymond, who gave the land to the city, intended, the park was to be a place for some good memories, “a bit of nostalgia and maybe a laugh and a smile.”

But Cindy Caverly, whose condo looks out on to Raymond Park, on 119th Avenue and 221st Street, says the corner has other purposes.

The low bushes, sheltered from above by a big cedar, provide a secluded, dry place, enticing for people without homes or those doing drugs.

“We’re seeing everything looking out there, people having sex, people shooting crack, people peeing,” Caverly said.

Just a couple of weeks ago, she saw a body on the pathway and called police. After several minutes of CPR by police, paramedics showed up.

Caverly said people from her condo complex try to get to the park daily to keep it neat.

“All the little seniors push their little walkers there.”

But they can’t stop in the park and sit on the bench because there’s “some freaky crack head” shooting up, Caverly said. “It’s sad.”

She said the deterioration has happened in the past two years.

“I know Jenny would be heartbroken if she was alive to see this.”

Calls are made, cleanups are done, including removal of mattresses and clothing, only to have more junk show up the next day.

Seniors have been yelled at by drunks, while kids have been told not to make their forts nearby because of the temporary campsites.

“So we have a park and no one feels safe to use it,” Caverly said.

She’s called Ridge Meadows RCMP about a dozen times in the past few years, adding she’ll keep complaining about the park.

Geoff Mallory, manager of parks and open spaces, said the city will trim back the bushes to improve visibility. It’s also working with the tenants of the city-owned rental home to the north so that adjacent bushes can be trimmed.

He’s only received one complaint about the park.

Staff make weekly stops at the park to do clean up and remove litter. The lawn is also cut every two weeks.