Letter to the Editor
I am puzzled as to why after the public consultation on paid parking in Marina Park, Wednesday, March 1, Mr. Mark Smith in a television interview, was rather condescending about the opinions of the 100 or so good citizens who came to the meeting. The majority of attendees were strongly against paying for parking. Mr. Smith suggested that such a small group was not an accurate reflection of public opinion. Then, he went on to state that a user pay system was fairest. Since when is it appropriate for a senior City Administrator to express his personal point-of-view on television?
Sounds to me like Administration has already made the decision to have paid parking at Marina Park. The meeting seems to have been just ‘window-dressing’ so that ‘public consultation box’ can be ticked off. Administrators do not seem to have attended to actually listen to citizens’ opinions. Otherwise they would have heard loud and clear that the idea of paid parking is not popular. That opinion is what should have been reflected in the television interview.
The City has already spent $65 million dollars to refurbish this park, against the wishes of many citizens. There are other obvious questions: ‘Why is the City now demanding pay for parking when, according to previous budget reports, more taxes are spent on Marina Park, than the rest of the city parks combined?’ What is being done with the thousands of dollars already lavished on this one park? What savings could be found from in the existing park budget to pay for parking? Personally, I suggest that the City could get rid of the over-zealous security guards patrolling the park at 6:00a in the morning...
In the last few months, City Councillors and the Mayor have said that they desire greater public participation in civic affairs. Editorials in the Chronicle-Journal have urged Thunder Bay citizens to become more involved in community issues. Comments like those from Mr Smith, suggest to me that it is a waste of time to attend public consultations with this Administration. IF City Council and Administration want public input, they need to start to display more respect for those citizens who actually spend their valuable time giving it.