Trudging through deep snow in Kinsmen Park, Patrick Boland points out several areas of Kinsmen Park he feels have been ignored for far too long.
"Five years ago I've been fighting to get that park cleaned up,” the longtime Prince Albert resident said while surveying damage on the weekend.
Boland’s efforts to push for city investment in Kinsmen Park has been featured in the Daily Herald twice -- first in July, 2010, and again in August, 2012.
Since then, he said, the park has only become worse.
The senior has lived two blocks away from Kinsmen Park since 1975, walking the park on a daily basis, over the years seeing the park fall by the wayside when it comes to city attention.
On Monday, the city’s elected officials will review a letter from Boland regarding the park, which they’ll formerly respond to during next week’s city council meeting.
After five years of sending emails to mayor and council that Boland suspects are deleted on arrival, he hopes this tactic is more effective.
"Maybe they'll listen," he said. "There are other ways of doing things, too. Idle No More -- that works. I've already approached some people about marching from the park to city hall, about the park, and I have some volunteers already.”
But, he said, he’s optimistic it doesn’t come to that.
Not one to mince words, Boland has a list of things he feels the city has been remiss in taking care of at the park.
Five years ago I've been fighting to get that park cleaned up. - Patrick Boland
“They're just going to hate my name!" he said with a laugh. "Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm not giving up.”
He counts five park benches rotten to the point where sitting on them would be dangerous, countless areas of the ground consisting more of weeds than grass, and constant mud clumps on walkways.
Recognizing these things aren’t likely to be remedied in the winter, he wants council to take a proactive approach to the park going into the early spring.
"This is what a lot of the tourists see, and this park gets busy in the summer,” he said, noting countless private barbecue get-togethers as well as larger public events.
Having dealt with effective councils in the past, Boland said that the only thing preventing the park from getting cleaned up is political will.
“Years ago,” he recalls a light standard falling off a pole, so he called the city to let them know.
"Well, it hung there for a week, and nothing was done,” he said. “I finally wrote a letter to city council, and finally something got done.”
"I'd seen stuff before, and I got fed up," he concluded. "It was time to start changing things, and that's what I'm working on."