Neighbours pan centennial garden plans

Osprey project ‘irresponsible waste of funds’, say neighbours.

Plans for a garden in Osprey Village to memorialize loved ones and commemorate Pitt Meadows centennial are being resoundingly rejected by neighbours.

“Further community dialogue may be appropriate given the lack of support for this proposal from residents in the immediate area,” parks planning technician Sylvia Pendl said in a report to council Tuesday, following an open house in January, when residents were critical of the project.

Several residents considered the proposed park an unnecessary taxpayer expense.

The project is expected to cost $130,000, with $65,000 coming from the city and the rest in grants.

The memorial garden would be 7.5 metres in diameter and around 10.5 metres in length, and feature 10-centimetre by 10-centimetre granite markers engraved with a name and date.

The conceptual design for the garden includes a space for public art and parks staff say it could also feature “poetry or uplifting sentiments or, perhaps a medallion or artwork” within the plaza area.

“This is a substantial expenditure given current public concern about the city budget,” wrote W. George Coghlan.

Katrina Harnett also considers the project a “irresponsible waste of taxpayer funds.” She believed the proposed plaza would provide a place for unsavoury folks to congregate.

“I do not want the park area of Bonson to look like the park area in front of the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre – overrun with homeless, drug dealers and general useless loiterers,” wrote Harnett. “If council has so little to do that they need to conceptualize ways to spend money that will be taken into consideration during the next election.”

Other residents were concerned that the project would take over an area currently used by children to play ball.

The memorial garden isn’t the only park project on the books for 2014. The city has also proposed a park at Airport Way and Bonson Road, at the cost of $150,000.

Council was set to discuss the proposed project at a committee meeting Tuesday, but will formally decide on the next step at a regular meeting.

Parks staff have submitted applications for two grants, but won’t know if they’ve been successful for another three months.

Pendl said the park won’t be complete for the city’s official centennial in April but if approved would be constructed by year’s end.