While visiting North Vancouver recently, I was heartened to see how Edward Mahon’s legacy of parkland development has been embraced by the City and his contribution to the welfare of its current citizens is being recognized. I was especially struck by how the city planners managed to blend the natural landscapes with developed paths, formal gardens, and artistic enterprises. This is true of a purely natural park such as Mahon Park, as well as of formally landscaped parks such as Victoria Park and the Grand Boulevard.
Castlegar, on the other hand, seems to have lost much of that vision. What should be our greatest parkland asset is getting more and more of that Coney Island look to it. I was asked to develop a series of interpretive signs for the Millennium Walkway; the result were state-of-the-art panels that showcase local history in a unique way, have the appearance of genuine artwork, and are very durable. Although they are at times targeted by vandals, they hold up well.
It is distressing to see that effort watered down by the installation of similar sign panels which are basically propaganda signs and which clash with the historical sequence. I think if it is necessary to provide advisory information on sponsors or management techniques, it could be done in a more modest way, so as not to compete with the more valuable assets of the park.
By far the worst, however, is the clutter of advisory signs which range from being irritating to plain idiotic. The latest addition is a NO LOITERING sign. What on earth is a park for then? I honestly believe these predominantly negative signs raise feelings of resentment and encourage vandalism which then spreads to other features of the park.
It was heartening to see the Welcome to Castlegar signs relocated and ‘uncluttered’ from the meaningless tack-ons. Perhaps we could use such a rigorous approach on the Millennium Walkway.