Re: “Signs needed no additions,” Oct. 31
I wrote my original letter to point out the apparent lack of an overall vision for signage in Twin Rivers Park. The sign panels I was asked to develop in 1999 were meant to anchor formal viewpoints along the Millennium Walkway. The result was later admired by a tourism consultant hired by the City, who pointed out: ‘always tell a story.’ My stories are further amplified on my non-profit website, which showcases Castlegar through windows into the past.
Our city is handicapped by the lack of obvious reminders of our past and the scarcity of the historic ambience so prevalent in other Kootenay cities. I have dedicated myself to counterbalancing that deficit through my earlier work on community trails, starting with Waldie Island. Not being able to develop the interpretive infrastructure for my trails along the Kootenay River was a great disappointment, as I am convinced that that is the best corridor for the Trans Canada Trail eastward.
Presently we have in the park six formal panels which were developed by me (if we include Zuckerberg Island) and four that are more of an advertisement in nature. My original point was, that the latter signs compete with the more valuable ones for attention and a new visitor may not proceed to seek out the remainder once he is let down by one of them. Sponsors for the outdoor gym could have been acknowledged by a metal plaque which would be equally prestigious but less confusing to the overall scheme.
There is much more that could be done, especially in properly acknowledging the city’s founder, Edward Mahon. I have offered various proposals which collectively would bring Castlegar into closer alignment with his original vision. It might be beneficial to seek out a linkage to North Vancouver, based on the historic threads that connect us.
As for all the other advisory signs, the City could do well to imitate Mahon Park in North Vancouver. Each entry point to the park displays a large and attractive sign which includes a map, a short history, and the rules to follow. This is all presented in as positive a way as possible. There are no additional prohibition signs along the trails to offend a sensitive soul. No unnatural clutter in the landscape.
A park needs to cater to everyone, young and old. I hope that future development plans include an arboretum and some formal gardens that would add variety to the lodgepole pine ecosystem. Nelson’s Gyro Park is an excellent example of a blend of natural vegetation, introduced species, and horticultural displays. Our City fathers should consider the value of retirees who may wish to settle in our fair city if our parks and recreational amenities cater also to the slow and thoughtful person, who is attracted to peace and solitude. I guess I am getting that way myself as I am not terribly attracted to flying-through-the-air sports and I tend to tone my muscles naturally by the task at hand. And, yes, I do like to loiter now and then.