On the same day that a conceptual sketch of a proposed new adventure playground for Castlegar’s Millennium Park was revealed, some park users urged city council to find an alternate location for it.
Megan Reed and Eileen Senyk told council they are concerned the structure would be built in a field of camas, a rare lily with important cultural and heritage values to local First Nations people.
“Our recommendation to council is to reconsider the location of the new play structure and the proposed trail to an area in the park that’s already been impacted and doesn’t have the same level of biodiversity,” Senyk says.
Specifically, they are suggesting an area east of the bike skills park, as it doesn’t have any camas and has already seen development.
“So we feel that’s an appropriate place. It would be brownfield development, essentially.”
Senyk and Reed presented a map from the current official community plan (seen above) that identifies the proposed playground site and said the subject is timely as the city gets into public consultation on a new OCP.
“It’s a really good opportunity for residents to get involved and voice their opinion on how this could be better thought out to protect biodiversity and cultural heritage values,” Senyk says.
Acting mayor Dan Rye encouraged the pair to bring their concerns to the forthcoming OCP meetings.
“No final decision has been made on where [the playground] will be going,” he said. “All these things will be taken into consideration.”
The city also indicated it plans to consult with the Kootenay Native Plant Society and First Nations on the project.
A camas conservation area was designated within Millennium Park in 2015. The playground would fall outside that area, but still within the part of the park with camas blooms.
Senyk said the timing of their presentation shortly after the unveiling of the playground’s conceptual design was just coincidental.