Some View Royal residents aren’t happy that an asphalt pad is being placed in Chancellor Park. (Jessica Fedigan/News Gazette Staff)

Basketball pad causes controversy in View Royal

Town of View Royal says they could have consulted public differently

An asphalt pad is causing quite a stir in the Town of View Royal.

The Town is in the process of installing the pad for a basketball court at Chancellor Park and that has left many unhappy. Residents brought their concerns before council at Tuesday’s meeting.

Santina Spencer asked council for more clarification on why the public wasn’t notified of proceedings.

“We have received some conflicting information from different departments at the Town of View Royal,” Spencer said. “We would like some clarification, more specifically, how this decision was made, was there any opportunity for public consultation – as we as residents in the area were not aware of any – [and] why there was no public notification regarding what work would be done.”

Spencer added there are many young children in the area that use the park on a daily basis and something geared toward that demographic would be better suited for the location.

Mayor David Screech said the plans for a basketball pad in Chancellor Park have been in the works for years.

“Ever since that park was bought in 2002, there was discussions even at that point of putting a basketball pad in the park,” he said. “Certainly, over the years we’ve discussed it.”

Angela Hanes also expressed her concerns over the project, noting it is a popular area for cyclists. “Where the pad is laid out, it is dangerously close to the Galloping Goose.”

“Being a cyclist, if it is intended for basketball or other things where there could be body checking or throwing a ball at somebody, I worry about the safety of the Goose because that is a huge commuter route. If we’re looking at it long term, we have to look at safety as well.”

The basketball net will be eight metres off the trail when finished and will also feature a hockey net with a six foot fence on the backside of the net.

Chancellor Park is approximately 3,000 square metres in size. The pad itself will equal five per cent of the park’s area for a total of 150 square metres.

Coun. John Rogers suggested the project be put on hold so the public can be consulted.

“I think it really alludes us to respect the role of the community and hold any further development of the paving and give us time to take a second breath and consult with the community and see what their views are about this amenity so we can really make sure this is an amenity the community really wants,” he said.

Screech agreed public consultation could have been better with residents in the community.

But added, “my feeling would be more of let’s finish it, it’s gotten this far and let’s make a commitment to evaluate it in a year and see what it is. When contracts have been awarded, I can’t see stopping it although I do agree that the consultation with the neighbourhood should have been better.”

Councillors Ron Mattson and Aaron Weisgerber also agreed the project should continue and public consultation should be reviewed.

Staff also noted that if it is determined the basketball and hockey net is not viable, they could replace them with benches and/or picnic tables and permanent four square and hop-scotch activities for younger children.

Council voted down Rogers’ motion to halt construction.

“I think collectively, we made a mistake,” Screech said. “I apologize for that and we will follow up in a year after it’s done.”

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