Not in my backyard
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Jul 09, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Not in my backyard

Stratford Gazette

Re: Councillors weigh in on future skatepark location, news, July 4

I am a resident of Shakespeare Street and am very concerned with the suggestion that the skateboard park be moved from its current location to the park across the street from my house.

The idea is to tear out the current tennis courts and horseshoe pitch and establish the skateboard park in its place. At least two councillors feel it is a great idea and the reason they cite is that it is close to public transportation and is highly visible.

However, it is only visible to the residents of that block of Shakespeare Street which is directly across the street from the park.  These residents are comprised of working-age people who are away all day, shift workers who need to sleep during the day, and retirees, some of whom are ill and or/elderly. Are we being asked to be the watchdogs of the teenagers who use the skateboard park?

It has also been said that the new surfaces for the rebuilt park will be quieter than the current ones. Nobody has taken into consideration that the kids skateboard to the skateboard park on the sidewalks and paved roads, and that is extremely noisy.

Shakespeare Park is also the first things tourists see as they step off the train – it is a gateway to the city and I don’t think a graffiti-covered skateboard park is particularly attractive. I have been picking up garbage that blows down Milton Street from the skateboard park to my back yard on a daily basis for years. The newly disembarked tourists will get to contend with that as well.

In the warm weather my husband and I enjoy sitting on our front porch but that will end once the children of other people take over the park. My property value will plummet (and my property may be vandalized) and I won’t be able to sell as nobody wants to live 20 or so feet from a skateboard park.

I doubt that the current users of the park, who range from mothers and toddlers, the YMCA, tennis players and picnickers from out of town (a wide variety of people constantly enjoy this park) will continue their usage of the park. It will be left to a minority of non-taxpaying adolescents to use and abuse as they will.

There are many other places to locate a skateboard park that are already equipped with washrooms  and are situated at a decent distance from citizens’ homes. Queen’s Park springs to mind.  Romeo and Norfolk is on a bus line and has facilities. It’s not my job to find a suitable space for it but I am adamant that Shakespeare Park is not one of them.

Lani Ashenhurst


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