Thanks for publishing the news about the Cottonwood Park development plans. Of all the aspects of the Railtown development, the moving of the Cottonwood market has raised the most concern among Nelson citizens.
Yet throughout the process of planning, public comment and show casing it was repeatedly stated by council members that nothing had been finalized. Apparently there has been an agenda all along.
The major concerns as I see it are:
(1) Moving the market site allows for construction of residential units on the old market site, effectively making the park smaller.
(2) By eliminating the open lawn area of the park there is less safe area for toddlers to play away from the steep banks and rapids of cottonwood creek.
(3) If residential units are constructed at the present market site, will the future occupants be complaining of the noise of the community samba band practising on Monday nights? The samba band has practised at Cottonwood Park for 12 years, finding it the only space in town where they don’t disturb the neighbours.
The real issue, however, is continued growth. I understand that the city council wants to promote the creation of more housing in Nelson.
According the article in the Star of a few weeks ago city expenses rise every year because of cost of living increases written into city employee contracts. city Council has to come up with some way to make more money every year without raising taxes, or deferring maintenance on infrastructure.
Typically this is accomplished by continuous growth, new homes means more people paying taxes. However, continuous growth has never made for less costs for a municipality, it just defers costs of bigger infrastructure to the future. Think about our water system and the annual water shortage, or what happens when we have to build and staff a second fire hall. Bigger cities require more services and infrastructure than small cities. Is there any plan for where and when this continuous growth is going to end?
Maybe the city council, with the help of the citizens, could be more creative in balancing the budget without sacrificing the small-town quality of life we still have here.