Planned site preparation work next week for a new playground project in Ladner’s Lions Park has been put on hold.
Following a flood of emails to City of Delta staff, the Mayor’s office and comments on social media Thursday night, Delta council, during a special meeting of council Friday morning, passed a motion to stop any work on the project and have staff provide a detailed report on the project to council at a meeting in September.
The report will also be shared with the Parks and Recreation Commission for their comments and recommendations to council.
The motion, made by Mayor George Harvie, was passed with only Coun. Lois Jackson opposed.
Jackson said she was in opposition because she was unclear on the project and was upset that the item was put forward in what she described was an unusual council meeting with no details on the project.
“Everyone seems to be running this organization by things on the Internet and what people are saying. I don’t have that, I don’t follow that. We are here at an unusual meeting of council with no paperwork. This is quite untoward and I’m very surprised that you have brought this forward Mr. Mayor,” she said. “I have difficulty with this process.”
City manager Sean McGill said the issue was brought up Thursday night on social media and subsequent emails were received by staff and council Thursday night and Friday morning.
“The motion is clear from the mayor that we halt the project and get the information that council and you, Coun. Jackson are looking for,” said McGill. “Issues were raised by emails I received this morning, the mayor received and the comments were the lack of consultation, some of the proposed design elements, so I think, from what I’m getting from the mayor is there is a lack of information and it’s a good idea for us to hold things and report back to council.”
Coun. Jeanie Kanakos said she while she appreciated Jackson’s concerns, it is prudent of council to respond to community concerns quickly and that’s what they were doing.
Coun. Dylan Kruger said generally speaking he is very supportive of the city’s planned playground replacement projects.
“This particular playground is over 20 years old and I think there were some design concerns that came up in response to public notification and I appreciate the willingness of staff and council to take a second look at this,” he said. “That is why we are here…to listen to community concerns and make the best decision we can for everyone in our community and not to shove construction down people’s throats, so I’m supportive of the motion and glad we can take a second look.”
Harvie said it is important that local government listens to people.“There is a problem here that it seems we moved forward with the contract without real consultation with the community,” said Harvie. “We should not be putting park structures in that do not meet the acceptance of the neighbours and residents who are using it. They were very vocal, but very polite and I’m looking forward to the staff report and making this right.”