Leasing parkland would be lasting mistake

Time for one last council legacy: the privatization by lease of a much-loved waterfront park to a hotel developer.

To the Editor,

Re: Georgia Park lease deserves referendum, Opinion, Sept. 16.

City council’s term is coming to a close. Time for one last legacy: the privatization by lease of a much-loved waterfront park to a hotel developer for a loading bay zone with semis and delivery vans coming and going, patios for the hotel’s cafés and lounges, and a staircase aggressively extending into and through the park, effectively claiming the park as the grand front grounds of the hotel.

When you read the staff report to council on all this, one thing stands out: the parks and rec department has not offered a report recommending these uses as adding value to the park. When the golf course proposal at Beban Park came in front of council, the parks department went to great lengths to describe the benefit to park users.

If this very ill-advised plan isn’t pulled off the table without delay it will go to referendum, perhaps as part of the Nov. 15 election. I’m confident it will be defeated and perhaps along with it, a few incumbents will get a bit of a shock.

Frank MurphyNanaimo

 

To the Editor,

The Hilton hotel planned for the waterfront is a terrible idea, period. It would create a small number of jobs during construction, then a small number of low-paying jobs when complete, therefore employment cannot be used to justify this.

I relocated to Nanaimo for the nature, for the ocean, and for the quiet. It goes without saying that there is not a whole lot to do for many folks in Nanaimo. A fancy hotel, that for the most part would cater to the wealthy will not attract people to our fine city.

And down the road when Hilton makes public how much money it is losing due to the ‘unexpectedly high’ vacancy rate, the only thing it can do to survive is to sell the suites on all of the top floors as condos to the super wealthy. (You don’t see that coming?)

I go for walks down at the waterfront, and now I imagine a 32-storey eyesore obstructing the view, not to mention what it will look like from Protection and Newcastle Island.

If the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, then go ahead and build. In our beautiful city, I think the needs of the many vastly outweigh the needs of the few, in this case a very few, so let’s drop the crazy idea that some fancy Hilton hotel will actually do anything for Nanaimo other than be a giant and mostly vacant eyesore.

Douglas BodingtonNanaimo