Williams Lake city council debated for over an hour during the regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23, before deciding to send staff back to the drawing board regarding Kinsmen Park.
Council voted unanimously to ask staff to bring back a report to council outlining potential next steps, including conceptual designs, development options, timelines and processes, using a budget of up to $10,000 to come out of the economic development budget.
Staff reported if the city did dispose of the park, it would have to set the proceeds aside for future park development within the city.
A proposal by the city of Williams Lake to dispose of park land for future housing opportunities is getting mixed reviews.
The city has expressed interest in acquiring the former Poplar Glade school site on Eleventh Avenue from School District 27 and disposing of Kinsmen Park, which is city-owned.
At the end of August, staff sent out 349 surveys to neighbouring properties within 250 metres of the site about the proposed land disposal.
A total of 121 surveys were completed and returned and of those surveys 72 per cent of respondents said they were opposed to disposing of the park land.
Sixty per cent of the respondents said they used the park weekly to daily while 40 per cent said they use the park seldom.
During its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 23, city council will receive a report from planning analyst Jessica Ball about the survey and be asked to provide direction.
In her report she included survey comments that ranged from ‘I think it’s a great idea to use this land for housing and a great idea to survey the neighbourhood,’ to ‘Kinsmen is a busy, very used park in our community. It would be disappointing to lose it.’
“Many respondents felt increased density would affect the traffic in the area and were concerned about safety,” the report stated.
The report also discussed the land disposition process which is either by referendum or an alternative approval process.