First, welcome back Wayne Thiessen, the city’s CAO from 1993-2003. Alberto DeFeo was here 2003-2009, since then we’ve had three CAOs and a couple of actings (Mayor Cobb since February).Wayne will hold the fort until a permanent person is found.
Every so often residents who don’t support the Scout Island Nature complex start making waves. They would prefer “better use” of the area (campsites, marinas, whatever). Mayor Walt Cobb provided the red flag this time around when he wanted to mow the vegetation edging the causeway. This raised some hackles and the issue was on last week’s council agenda. Further discussion is slated for the Committee of the Whole meeting July 12.
The pro-nature people are always described as “only” teachers, retired people and/or environmentalists. The fact is there are a humongous number of residents who are none of the above but support the “nature” part of the complex. Many families, like mine, have enjoyed Scout Island for several generations. Nature centres like this are few and far between and ours is unique. It’s a major attraction for tourists as well as locals. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize a treasure when it’s in your back yard.
Then there is the beach and picnic area. The beach started falling off the city’s priority list after the indoor pool was built. The geese invasion did not help matters. This council has made a start with the pooper scooper machine and clean sand. The next step is to replace the trees that had to be cut down a few years back. Not everyone can handle sitting in the blazing sun and shady spots are scarce. Cost is a factor but some families (mine for one) might like to have a memory tree planted, and/or West Fraser might share its park tree planting program with the area.
The misinformation flying around about the history of the Scout Island complex makes your head spin. There isn’t space here to explain the particulars of ownership, leases, reserves etc. but it’s all on the Internet. Hopefully city council will have the information available at the COW meeting so everyone understands what’s what.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.