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Residents resigned about Nelson Park

If you ask queer parks commissioner Spencer Herbert why the re-development of Nelson Park in the West End is taking so long, he has two words for you: Olympics and RAV.

Herbert says those two mega-projects (the 2010 Olympics and the Canada Line transit system) are the primary drivers of this city’s construction inflation. Together, they’ve delayed the park’s reconstruction until at least next year.

A community meeting was held Nov 3 to get resident input on the revamped park and its ongoing delays.

“I think people are upset,” Herbert says. “It’s frustrating.”

George Stephenson, who lives in the West End and has followed the process closely, agrees. He says the mood at the meeting was one of resignation and annoyance that the project had been deferred yet again.

“It was a poorly attended meeting,” says Stephenson. “We were able to sit around one table and talk.”

Initial tenders were sent out earlier this year for the work on the park. Herbert was hopeful at the time that ground on the much-anticipated project would be broken this fall. However, what should have been a $700,000 project would have cost more than $1.8 million if the tenders as they sat had been accepted.

Stephenson says parks board staff said they had no option but to make changes in order to proceed.

Now the tenders are going out again in January with yet another revised park plan.

Herbert says the plan is essentially the same but there will be no fountain, no fancy railings. “It’ll still look good,” he promises.

The original plans–arrived at after several years of community consultations–included a fenced off-leash area for dogs, an area with benches encircled by a band of trees, a water feature and a new children’s playground.

In order to accommodate area residents’ desires, the plans went back and forward to the designers several times.