Priority and responsibility

Columnist Diana French compares a few points about Scout Island and the dog park in Williams Lake.

Today’s sermon is about the dog park in Boitanio Park and the beach at Scout Island.

This is not about the Nature Centre, one of the city’s major assets. This is about the beach, which is the city’s only public access to the lake.

How many cities have a lake on their doorstep?

At least two generations of Williams Lakers have happy memories of the beach. It used to be a fun place. The sand was clean, there was a big lilac bush (city emblem) for shade, and the city cleared the weeds from the immediate swimming area. (Is that a no no now?) Today the sand is littered with bird kaka (complete with flies). The lilac bush is gone, the weeds are not.

Some say those who want to use the beach should rake up the poop themselves, and it looks like some do, but why should they? The beach, picnic area and boat launch are the city’s responsibility. Nobody expects volunteers to maintain other city parks or public facilities.

After hearing of complaints, I took my youngest grandgirls to check it out last week. There were little huddles of  people, maybe three dozen, mostly children, in or by the water during three hours on Friday, maybe a dozen on Saturday. We took a picnic supper Sunday, different crowd, not many, mostly adults. Each day there were a number of people walking dogs, but not on the beach.

So what does this have to do with the dog park?

Although neither the dog park nor the beach are on any community priority list, the city found money for the dog park. How come? The only reason I can see is that the dog park proponents have a champion on city council.

More on this in next week’s column.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.