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Letters to the Editor - April 24, 2014
Local resident wants to rename Twin Rivers Park
Earlier this month I submitted a request to Council to consider renaming Twin Rivers Park. My rationale follows, in the letter as I submitted it.
I am writing this to formally request that Council consider my proposal for honouring Edward Mahon as the founder of Castlegar, by renaming Twin Rivers Park as Edward Mahon Park.
In my biography of Edward Mahon I point out that it was at Castlegar that his dream of a well-planned city with an abundance of green space was born, to be brought to fruition in the City of North Vancouver, with the linked parks, mini-parks, and boulevards collectively known as the Green Necklace. Castlegar represents his first venture in developing a city, which he wanted to honour with the name of his ancestral Irish home.
Unfortunately, his partnering with Augustus Heinze in developing the townsite led to its dormancy for a generation, as Heinze sold out his interest in it to the CPR, who favoured the establishment of Nelson as the district centre.
Government Agent and Magistrate G.M. Sproat admitted in a retrospective interview with the Nelson Miner (October 9, 1897) that the embryonic city on the Columbia River, at the crossroads of the transportation corridors, should have taken ascendancy, were it not for his personal intervention on behalf of Nelson, and the CPR interests that followed.
There is no doubt in my mind that Edward’s vision for Castlegar included a park where Twin Rivers Park exists today, as the street that parallels it on his townsite plan is called Park Avenue. His Main and Broadway streets were wide enough to accommodate treed boulevards that would provide a link of greenway space to the park at the river.
Castlegar is greatly handicapped by its lost historical connections: some, like buildings and related infrastructure, were never built; others, like historic street names, were simply discarded. I strongly believe we need to draw on the fainter historic echoes that remain to project an image of a city which indeed has a varied and colourful history. That is what I have tried to do with my work over many years.
I have previously proposed to Council a scheme for Millennium Walkway extension via a series of mini-parks which would essentially add to Edward’s vision. These would be elements of a HistoryWalk, which would admirably complement ArtWalk and SculptureWalk by focusing on topics like the CPR bridge (whose turn-span was twin of the one at the Kitsilano crossing in Vancouver) and the Castlegar-Robson ferry. A mini-park to commemorate Edward Mahon was the first link in this chain, one I proposed at the foot of First Street. None of these ideas received support for further consideration.
I believe it would profit Castlegar to draw on its historic connection to Edward Mahon and to develop a linkage with the City of North Vancouver, where his contributions to making it a truly ‘green’ city are celebrated. Naming the park which Edward foresaw when he purchased Lot 181 from Albert McCleary in 1891 would be the first step. Mahon Park is the largest park within the City of North Vancouver today. Keith Road Boulevard could be an example for developing Main (Third) Street and Broadway (Ninth Avenue) to inject more linked greenways into downtown Castlegar. The key to revitalization of historic Castlegar lies in making this area more attractive, giving it a stronger historic ambience, and planning for the development of higher density residential zones. Business opportunities will inevitably follow.
Shame of those who toss their garbage
My husband and I are visiting Castlegar for the Easter weekend.
We went for a two kilometre walk up West Broadwater Road.
This is a picture of the garbage we picked up beside the road in that short distance!
Unfortunately we were unable to pick up fridges, stoves, mattresses and yard clippings that were tossed unscrupulously on the side of the road.
The majority of the garbage was Starbucks, A&W, 7-11 coffee cups, cigarette cartons and potato chip bags. Shame on people who toss their garbage!
We have to all care about our environment no matter where we live.
I would like to commend the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Castlegar & District for their commitment, persistence and hard work that is always required to establish such an initiative.
I hope the citizens of Castlegar will join me in becoming involved in supporting this very important community asset.
Wealth needs to be unlocked
Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney recently called for a National Resource Development Office, one with powers to streamline regulatory reviews and settle intergovernmental squabbles. I think this is a great idea and I fully agree with him.
These resources are currently locked in the ground “dead as a doornail.” Examples include Alberta’s oil and British Columbia’s abundant minerals such as gold and copper (e.g., the Prosperity mine).
A national office that can get things moving on natural resource projects can’t come soon enough. The wealth locked beneath our feet is wealth that needs to be unlocked.