Polson Park is for everybody

Resident defends the possibility of pickleball being played in the park

Imoved here in 1974. I am not sure who the decedents of Samuel Polson are but surely they must be joking if they think that they have enough push in the city to deny people the ability to play pickleball in a city park.

Polson Park, by history, is rich with athletic activity. It was used for soccer and football matches, as well as track meets, all in the decades leading up to before my arrival here.

When I arrived here, the park flourished with flowers. You could run around the track, you would see people playing in the park, floating sticks down the creek, having picnics and enjoying the surroundings, including making joyful noises.

There used to be symphony concerts in the bandshell.

There used to be a high school there that used the park and its facilities quite well. Was this school moved at the bequest of the Polson descendents?

If you go to Polson Park now, you will see some people walking around the park, using the run-down roadway, crumbling and full of potholes that need to be negotiated. Most of these people are elderly.

The playground is vibrant, full of joyful noises of children’s laughter, sounds of the swings and merry go wheel. Isn’t it great that moms and dads and grandparents have somewhere to bring their kids.

The tennis court in summer is used well but by a small number of select people. The sport of tennis is not exactly flourishing.

The track of dirt that was once used for the Winter Carnival snow relay race is getting decrepit.

The steeplechase pit of water has moss and mould growing in it and the wooden hurdle falling apart due to rot and age. It was once a focal point for a fantastic race that had the crowds cheering, when teacher and coach Greg Fraser, from Seaton school, created the Okanagan Relays track meet that made the track a high point in the athletics of high school students.

Pickleball is a new sport and played mostly by seniors. Why shouldn’t the senior community be able to play a sport that they enjoy in the park that is there for them?

The few people that I have viewed using the park are people that need help and perhaps don’t want help — the people with addiction problems.

They come to you asking for money or cigarettes or looking for anything else as a handout while they negotiate life.

There are transactions for things that most people let pass because Polson Park has become a dark place. There was a murder there this past summer.

I think the descendents of the Samuel Polson who greatly object to a sport that has no more noise that tennis, or the cheers coming from the lawn bowling green, or the sounds of kids laughing and playing in a park need to revisit the park and truly decide who they are trying to marginalize.

Is NIMBY (not in my backyard) really the right attitude to take in a city that is small and trying to grow and serve all of it’s community members?

Greg Hesford


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