I read a letter posted by Tony and Cathy Metz, longtime friends of ours and residents of Lavington, in the Sept. 10th edition of your newspaper. My wife and I completely agree with the opposition expressed, by Tony, with regard to breaking up the Lavington Park for Daycare use.
To answer Tony’s closing question: “why?” I can only answer that, in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments whether federal, provincial or local seem to be pushing through programs that may otherwise require greater public scrutiny. With regard to his comment on property ownership and, for point of clarification because land titles can get quite convoluted over time, it is my understanding that the District of Coldstream did not actually acquire title until 2014. This came to me from a very reliable source and I am sure can be readily fact-checked to verify. It is interesting that, in only six short years, the new owners have decided that they can begin the process of deconstruction.
Having said that, I want to express that, in my opinion, this is more about breaking up donated parkland than it is about daycare. We are definitely not “anti-day care”!
I don’t have as long a history as Tony or Cathy in Lavington. I moved here in 1984 with my young family of four children. My children, and the family, thoroughly enjoyed having such wonderful green space so close to home. I joined the Lavington Volunteer Firefighters and served, for a time, on the Lavington Community Association (LCA) (formerly Lavington Hall Society (LCS) previously disbanded) as Secretary-Treasurer.
I know the park was established in 1967, as Tony indicated, and plaques were set for trees donated by community residents along with a cenotaph dedicated to those from the community who served and died in two wars to protect our freedom. By which process the land was purchased and donated I am not clear, but, it is my understanding from my time served on the LCA, that the North Okanagan Regional District (NORD) was the owner on the title and the park was being managed by White Valley Parks and Recreation (WPVR). As firefighters, we would donate our time to flood the old ice rink in the park every winter for the enjoyment of all. I and other firefighters, worked closely with Chris Nelson with NORD who, at the time, oversaw the activities of the WVPR.
Over time, NORD became the Regional District of the North Okanagan (now RDNO) and some conflicting area services (such as water) became combined for the region. At some point prior to, or up to 2014, WPVR no longer managed the Lavington Park. Hence, perhaps by a stroke of government pen, the change in land title ownership.
Regardless of all the foregoing, it is our opinion, that the park was established for the enjoyment of the community and surrounding areas. To that extent, we believe, the District of Coldstream has a responsibility, to the general public, to retain the green space fully and intact as was originally intended.
Reinie and Liz Berndt
Editor’s note: To learn the history of Lavington Park, visit coldstream.civicweb.net/document/69919