The proposed park would be located on the former school property to the east of Highway 1 in Spences Bridge.

Spences Bridge to decide this week if park will go ahead

All property owners receive petition on whether a park should be built in the old school grounds

Is a park in the future for Spences Bridge? Petitions will determine the answer.

In case you haven’t heard, Spences Bridge property owners were mailed petitions six weeks ago.  There were 175 petitions sent out, and fifty percent plus one – a total of 88 – must be turned in to obtain “park status”.

As the process unfolded, it became apparent that many properties were vacant lots, while others belonged to “out of town” owners. Getting the petitions to the rightful owners was challenging at times.  Despite this steep mountain to climb, however, we have had an incredible response. As of last week more than 70 petitions have been turned in. Though this is short of the 88 needed, support has been outstanding.

When the TNRD office closes at 4:00 pm on Aug. 9 the final tally will be in, and the decision will be final.      Whatever the result, I would like to thank all those who took the time to attend the town meeting, and all those who shared my passion, as well as those who took the time to tell me why they did not support the park.

Democracy works best when the people become engaged; when questions are asked, concerns are voiced, and processes are challenged. This is best done face to face, and I had a number of passionate folks on the other side of the fence share their voices.  Though we agreed to disagree on many things, they also raised some good points that I hadn’t considered.

I applaud those who took the time to bend my ear. I didn’t change anybody’s mind, but we certainly parted knowing exactly where we stood regarding the park.

Misinformation flies through small towns like snow in a blizzard.  The phrase “conflict of interest” even reared its ugly head, although the question is nothing more than obtaining the designation “park status” for the school property. Any “interest” would begin once the status was obtained.

At the end of the day, it appears we won’t have a park in Spences Bridge; but democracy has spoken and we move on.  However, we are turning over rocks right to the end, so if you know of a petition out there – somebody still undecided – talk to them. It will be close.

It has been an interesting process, with one side seeing an attractive amenity showcased alongside the Trans-Canada Highway, enticing travellers to stop and enjoy the park and check out our town. Some have suggested it may even help a stagnant real estate market in the Bridge, and possibly  attract someone to invest in a service station.  I am among that group.

Others, however, have suggested that a park would do nothing to bring travellers to the Bridge, and would in the long run be a burden and difficult to maintain.

If you are still undecided, or have a few questions, please give me a call or come visit me at the coffee shop, weekdays from 8:00 – 9:00 am. Friday Aug. 9 is the deadline.

Thanks, all; especially those who took the time to share their thoughts.

Steven Rice

TNRD Director, Area “I”

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