Walking through Kinsmen Park this week, Prince Albert resident Pat Boland readily points out numerous examples of what he feels is poor stewardship on the part of the city.
“There are four park benches that have been damaged and never fixed,” he said, pointing to a partially rotted through park bench.
Walking down one of a handful of sidewalks that winds through Kinsmen Park, Boland notes additional areas of disrepair, including sidewalks that devolve into mud puddles, unseeded patches of dirt, piles of debris in bushes and an out-of order washroom that he said has been that way for at least two weeks.
Boland has lived two blocks away from Kinsmen Park since 1975 and has taken to walking the park five days per week to stay healthy. In recent years he’s been upset to see the park fall into disrepair.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but this place is falling apart,” he said.
Boland’s main point of contention is with the inaction he’s seen on the part of the city’s current batch of elected officials.
“Last year, (Mayor Jim Scarrow) said ‘we’re going to pave it, it’s going to cost $25,000,’ but it never happened,” Boland said.
According to the city's approved budgets for the past two years, $25,000 was budgeted toward the park’s paths in 2011, with another $25,000 set aside within this year’s budget.
“We’re doing a section on the southeast,” the city’s director of Community Services Greg Zeeben explained of this year’s budgeted path work, noting that 200 metres of path is set to be paved this year.
“As we go through the year we continue to evaluate for hazards as they come.”
This isn’t good enough, Boland said, pointing out that this year’s 200 metres of path work runs alongside the Kinsmen Park’s soccer field, apart from the bulk of the park’s network of paths.
Boland was featured in the July 10, 2010, issue of the Daily Herald in an article that highlighted his concerns that Kinsmen Park is going downhill.
“It’s gotten worse,” he said. “Council knows what’s been going on. They’ve all been informed and nothing’s been done, so what does that mean?”
Mayor Jim Scarrow said that there are an “amazing number of parks” under city stewardship that all need attention.
“It’s an important part of the lifestyle of Prince Albert,” he said of parks. “They are a big priority for council.”
As for paving work done at Kinsmen Park, he said, “This will be done,” citing this year’s southeast paving as a start.
After years of seeing his favourite park gradually fall into disrepair, Boland has concluded that the best means of improving the park is a turnover of council during October’s municipal election.
“We pay the taxes and they do what they want … It’s vote time, as far as I’m concerned. People need to decide what they want: Let this deteriorate or get a new council.”