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LETTER: Regional parks shouldn’t be compared

From Joe Chirico, general manager of community services at the Regional District of Central Kootenay

Re: “A tale of two parks: As field between Nelson and Castlegar languishes, plans for a nearby rec facility questioned” Nelson Star, May 13

The Nelson Star article referenced above shared the history of Bonnington Regional Park and how community champions made it happen. It’s important for community members to be involved with our parks. If you see issues in our parks, please phone 250-352-1574 or email parks@rdck.bc.ca.

The article paints a negative picture of the condition of Bonnington Regional Park. While the grass on the field does not look its best at the moment, the park is not neglected.

During peak season, Bonnington Regional Park is maintained daily and at other times of the year is visited bi-weekly. If anything is damaged, repairs are made as quickly as possible.

Our small maintenance team is just starting work in the park, which includes repairs to the playing field. The team knew the area would need work to recover from last summer’s heat dome. This location has dealt with long-standing drought, fluctuating water supply, and vandalism to irrigation equipment. A reliable supply of untreated water to support irrigation of the fields has not been found.

The bike park is in very good shape after it was reworked in 2021 to improve safety and to be more universally accessible. We also worked with local volunteers to add winter skating to the park and, in 2022, a xeriscape garden project will be completed on the slopes adjacent to the fields.

Unfortunately, the article makes a connection to community engagement being done on the revisioning of Campbell Field. The two projects and the scale of community consultation are not comparable. The next step at Campbell Field will be outreach to Mount Sentinel School to get student feedback on the concept that arose out of the last round of community consultation.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay looks forward to working with the community to help make Bonnington Regional Park a space for public enjoyment for years to come.

Joe Chirico

RDCK general manager, community services