Letter to the Editor

Location of Skateboard and Youth Park – Corner of Northgate and Monkman Way

Good Idea, Wrong Location.

 I would like to discuss some concerns I have about the designated location for a Skateboard and Youth Park at the corner of Northgate and Monkman Way.

 1) Outdoor Lighting of Proposed Youth Park

 The outdoor lighting for this park will probably be similar to the industrial-style lighting requirements of our tennis courts. Was there adequate discussion about the effects an increase in the amount of year-round, outdoor lighting in this area might have on residents living nearby? There are many private homes, as well as two buildings of condos, in the direct sightline of this proposed park. Residing as I now do within sightline of the tennis courts, I can speak from direct experience that more outdoor lighting will not be a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

2) Noise levels for residents bordering on Monkman Way

 The spring and summer months will bring outdoor activity to this area and an increase in noise levels into the late hours of the evening. What consideration has been given to the overall negative effects this noise increase will have on residents living nearby?

 3) Main Intersection and Greenbelt Buffer Zone

This corner is a major intersection for Tumbler Ridge. It is the primary crosswalk for the lower residential area to access the downtown and the recreation center. It is also a main thoroughfare for vehicles. The greenbelt in this area of the recreation centre and Monkman Way acts as a natural transition and buffer zone between the active commercial/recreational sector and the residential community immediately below Monkman Way. This may not be obvious to those living in other areas of town, as it is not in their ?viewpoint?, but is a valued and irreplaceable natural landscape for those of us in the lower bench.

The article announcing the location of the skateboard and youth park mentions that one of the many benefits to this location is that it is ?out of the view of downtown?. Interesting comment. Does this mean that the merchants and politicians of our community are in support of this project as long as it doesn?t impact their sector? It should be no surprise, and it must be given equal consideration, that nearby residents may also have similar concerns that need to be accounted for. 

Was the area across the street from the high school considered for this park? It is central to the high school, allowing for easy access for the skateboarders in May, June, September and October. It is next to the family toboggan and snowboard site that has already been cleared and developed by the District of Tumbler Ridge. There is plenty of land to keep the skateboard park out in the open, put in a parking lot and still allow for any future expansions of a BMX track, water features, etc. The negative effects on any neighbouring residential areas would no longer be an issue.

 Let?s learn from the lack of town planning evident in Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John and not be shortsighted in our vision for the development of Tumbler Ridge. There should be no need to squeeze all the proposed facilities into one area because it is ?cheaper? to use this location over others.

4) Prime Viewpoint for Community – Monkman and Northgate Intersection

 Anyone who has driven or walked  down Northgate toward Monkman Way would agree that this corner is one of Tumbler Ridge?s prime viewpoints within town limits.

It cannot be stated often enough, nor loudly enough – Tumbler Ridge is a planned community that is envied by communities across the north. There are many for whom the natural beauty of the town itself is the only contact they have with nature. Bravo to the trail system that has been developed outside town limits, but for many of us the natural beauty we experience is in our own backyards and the greenbelts of our neighbourhoods.

It is vital that our elected representatives remember the importance of the open spaces within town limits, that they take steps to safeguard the existence of these greenbelt areas and that they encourage the additional development of downtown gardens and green belt zones.

The land at the corner of Northgate and Monkman Way should be considered for protection from future commercial or recreational development. It should be designated a year-round observation point for residents and tourists wanting to view the mountain vistas and the natural beauty of our town?s setting. The uniqueness of this viewpoint in town should be left undisturbed. Even the best-designed skateboard and youth park would only appear as an obstruction to this area.

The recent announcement of the planned revitalization and beautification of our town is welcomed. Tumbler Ridge?s award-winning town plan needs to be nurtured, developed and protected.

 

 I support the development of a youth and skateboard park for Tumbler Ridge and applaud the many volunteers for the hundreds of hours they contributed to making this project come to life, but I do not support the choice made for the location.

As a resident of this community for the past 20 years, I would like to be assured by our council members and administrators that the issues brought forth in this letter have been properly addressed prior to the issuing of any building or development permits.

Roachelle LaPrairie