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Letters Lacking, Fountain not Flowing, Centenial Park is in need of TLC and Council is ready to consult with the public
REPORTING · 2nd June 2011
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council met on Monday, May 30th at 7:30 pm at Centennial Park. During the 2011 budget, Council discussed what they were going to do with the park and came to the conclusion to grant $50,000 for park rejuvenation.

At this outdoor meeting, the head of Recreation, Martin Gould gave the wall at Centennial Park a good shake to show just how much of a hazard it is. Council also visited the Lion’s park.

Shortly before 8:30, the Committee of the Whole Meeting got underway. A motion to discuss was carried.

“The Heritage Park is a beautiful area that I have had comments from people who have come here, over the years, who have looked at it and admired [it]. However, the restoration funding estimates we have received, which are extremely high, and if we were to do everything that was planned in 2003, it would be over a million dollars,” said Councillor Corrine Scott.

She suggested maintaining the park and doing the reconstruction in phases rather then all at once. She added there were several options for the fountain, a pond, an open air stage or a fountain.

Councillor Bob Corless said the public wanted more input into what will become of the park. He suggested having hearings over the summer. Councillor Rob Goffinet said the park was a unique, “decidedly Kitimat,” area. He had spent a lot of time with his children and found it peaceful despite it’s location between two well used roads.

He stated the stone wall is in disrepair and wanted to stabilize the facing. He believed the core and integrity of the wall to be sound. He did not wish to decommission the heritage portion of the park.

Councillor Randy Halyk said this is a heritage scenario, as the wall reminded him as a feature wall from 1972. He was not opposed to the wall but thought art work would work better, as Kitimat does not have any sculptures aside from the spirit bear statues. He wanted to see something indicative to Kitimat’s History. Monaghan reminded him the totem pole was there.

“And the totem pole is there. Absolutely. That is another option to work with Haisla and maybe come together where we could put a new pole up. Maybe do some other kind of art work, maybe have a park where you walk around and look at art or could sit there and contemplate the artworks that might be here and there,” said Halyk.

Councillor Feldhoff expected the wall could be restored or rebuilt. He suggested if they focused their attention away from the sidewalks for the year, they could get it all done. They could also work with the legion to repair the cenotaph.

Councillor Gerd Gottschling had brought a photo of what the park used to look like from one of his walls at home. Monaghan held up the beautiful photo and it was passed around.

“Where there is a will to restore something, we will find the money,” said Gottschling. “This Centennial Park was partially built by volunteers. I think there are still these type of people in our community and we should lobby them and have them help us out. I cannot believe that it will cost $1,000,000 to refurbish what we have.”

He reminded Council they solved the issues revolving around the cemetery with only $100,000. Scott commented she was unaware with what the park looked like.

A motion was made to consult with the people of Kitimat. Feldhoff was afraid they would go through another input session. Gottschling did not want to take care of the sidewalks which were also damaged. He suggested taking the face off of the wall.

The question came down to whether or not the wall was safe. Halyk wanted some safety for the park. Corless said his grandkids could move the wall 2 years ago. It is still in the same place.

There was also talk about the potential to change the park. Whether to tear down the wall or keep it, restore the park with slight changes or make something different. Corless said he was not attached to the wall.

“I would like to remind Council that: If this is heritage, It’s probably the last piece of heritage we have in all of Kitimat. We didn’t save the train station. There is not much else that’s heritage. If you want it as a heritage site which is, of Kitimat from it’s past, then you keep the wall, you keep it as is, you refurbish it as it was and we bring it back to that beautiful picture which Councillor Gottschling brought. That is heritage. If you don’t want it as heritage, take a bulldozer and knock everything down,” said Monaghan.

The motion was amended to have the public meeting at the 2nd regular meeting in June, June 20th, and the motion was carried. Council continued discuss the re-commissioning of the fountain and wall and a second, broad, motion concerning making the inquires as to finding the cost to do these projects. This motion was carried.

A final motion was made to move ahead and rejuvenate the cenotaph. Feldhoff pointed out they could work through the Legion to receive the grants for it. Corless said they did not get the grant and there would be other grants coming up to recognize the grants. He also suggested adding a power source closer to the cenotaph. Finally, he asked if he had conflict and left.

The motion was carried and Council moved on
The Sidewalk through the park is not all it's "Cracked" up to be either.
The Sidewalk through the park is not all it's "Cracked" up to be either.
Even the Cenotaph has seen better days.
Even the Cenotaph has seen better days.
Gottschling brought this photo of what the park used to look like to Council.
Gottschling brought this photo of what the park used to look like to Council.