Editorial: New parkland appreciated

Nanaimo is verdant and vibrant and we can keep it that way, and still be a thriving city.

Council’s move to purchase 89 hectares of new parkland in the north end makes Nanaimo a better place.

The transactions totalling $9 million aren’t yet completed, but there’s no reason to doubt the deals will get done and that a significant chunk of Linley Valley will be preserved.

There’s an argument that a multi-million-dollar expenditure should have gone to referendum, but we think on this issue, council gauged the public mood correctly.

Some taxpayers will see this as an instance of council again succumbing to public pressure. That doesn’t seem to be entirely true – these real estate deals were in the works for some time, and supposedly kept silent so the city could negotiate a better sale price.

Are we buying at a bargain? Really, taxpayers will make that determination themselves. Probably we paid top dollar. Possibly other parcels of land are on the market, maybe even waterfront property that would make even more desirable parkland. We don’t know that, but we do know that the park we’re getting is, in its own way, priceless.

The thing about urban green space is that there’s a finite amount of it. With developers bulldozing ever further into the bush, city council had exactly one opportunity, now, to claim this park. The chance wouldn’t have come again.

Park-goers will be traipsing along the trails at Linley Valley Cottle Lake Park for generations. Our children and their children will visit, and when they do, the air will be fresher, the forest lusher and the birds more cheerful, thanks to our efforts now.

And we don’t need to wait till then. We can start getting our money’s worth right now. It’s a lovely day, Nanaimo. Let’s go play at the park.

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