North Sydney residents grow impatient over playground delays

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NORTH SYDNEY — Parents and children who live on and around High and Peppett Streets are expressing concern over a delay in replacing a playground in their neighbourhood.

Residents who live around a seniors home in North Sydney gathered at a green space near the facility to protest a delay in building a playground on the site.

There was playground equipment in the area at one time, but it was removed from the lot last June due to safety concerns while a 34-unit seniors apartment building between High and Johnston streets was being constructed by the Atlantic Baptist Seniors Homes.

At that time, residents were assured by the seniors home group that a new playground would replace the old one this past spring once the seniors facility had been completed.

The seniors home group says it still has the funding set aside to build the playground, but need assistance with insurance and liability issues in order to complete the project.

"The concept of having a play area where there would be children playing in the vicinity is a really nice concept," said Gerald Ingersoll, executive director of Atlantic Baptist Senior Citizen Homes.

"That came up as we moved into (construction), but in truth we can't operate a playground under our business model. That's why we need partnerships to help out with stuff like that."

Ingersoll said they have reached out to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to partner on the project and are awaiting a response.

"Generally, CBRM were very, very helpful in the establishment of our work there and so on and we have a very successful working relationship with them," he said. "This is a kind of a whole different project, having a play area, so in fairness to them it is kind of a new project and they have to handle that in the time and methodology they handle those kinds of things."

Signs questioning the future of the playground have been posted on the empty lot in recent days and community members like Dr. Bernie MacIntosh, showed up to the green space Thursday afternoon to protest the delay in building the playground.

"I drive by this park everyday on the way to work and I do remember a sign saying that the park will be back. It is unfortunate that the CBRM is not replacing the park or not trying to facilitate replacing the park," said MacIntosh, a family physician in North Sydney.

"As everybody knows on the Northside and in Nova Scotia, childhood obesity is a big issue and we'd like to encourage healthy living in Sydney."

Green spaces also encourage families to settle in the area, he added.

"We want to show is that CBRM is open to young families. We have a mass exodus of young families from the island. It's unfortunate that things like this occur."

Karen Clarke, an area resident, wants the playground constructed as planned. And while they wait for that to happen, she also wants improved communication between the municipality and residents on the issue.

"The health of a community relies on a number of things, one being the happiness of the families that populate it. Being able to take your kids to the park so they can play, not only is fun, but helps knit families together," Clarke said.

"Children of all ages benefit physically, emotionally and socially by being able to express themselves in a free space. Our municipal green space was sold and replaced by an apartment complex. That cannot be undone, but there is enough land left over to re-erect our playground, so I'm asking the CBRM why can't this be a win-win situation?"

When asked for the municipality's take on the issue, District 2 Coun. Charlie Keagan said some difficulties have been created, but CBRM administration is looking into aspects of the problem and they will have something to report at a later date.

 

 

Organizations: Atlantic Baptist Seniors Homes.At, Atlantic Baptist Senior Citizen Homes

Geographic location: North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Sydney

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Recent comments

  • newsflash
    September 28, 2013 - 21:38

    First world problems... the horror of it all.

  • one peed of dad and former child.
    September 28, 2013 - 08:14

    I for one grew up in this town and played in that ballfield as a child .and now my kids wanted to play baseball butonly have thompson ballfield now . I don't agree on taking our green areas and putting seniors homes up over them .at menroe park the took away a really nice scoccer field for a seniors home on stanley st there was an old school there years ago and took it down to put up a seniors home now they took a ball field for (yup another seniors home)and now our kids do not have much to do but get obiese cause nothing else to do or they just start to destroy things in the area . just drop off the materials and im sure I can build it and a lot of other parents in this town will help build it . im sure we will have a lot of volantiers to help build it for our kids as they grow up in this town .how can they not put it back. it wasn't even in the way of the construction and should still be there .that ball field was named after my uncle who deadacated his live to helping kids over 50 years in that ball field .Now a seniors . just not far to our kids and there kids later on well if we can afford to move into the seniors maybe when we get old lol. signed 1 peed off dad

  • George
    September 28, 2013 - 02:54

    Money to replace the playground was set aside by the Council with the construction of the seniors building (the ball field and the playground were funded to be replaced) but the money was taken away by CBRM when the Council cut the capital budget this year.

  • Michael Jackson
    September 27, 2013 - 23:19

    The ball field was in great condition. The playground wasn't, but it wasn't far beyond fixing up and replacing. The fact that it was torn down in the first place is horrible. They stated that the Thompson ball field was good enough, but it's in a dark area behind a Jr High School, and just like before it's used as a spot to drink that's out of sight and out of mind for the public. Nah. Fairview is dead now, and that's just not cool. That playground was a big place during my growing up. Pretty sad, if you ask me.

  • Sharla
    September 27, 2013 - 22:46

    Beth, the playground in question is not overlooking the water. Maybe you are thinking of Munroe Park. The complex there was not constructed by the Atlantic Baptist. The playground was located on the corner of High and Peppett streets and was formerly called the Percy Leyte Ball Field.

  • Beth
    September 27, 2013 - 22:19

    I agree with what was said above. What community would take a baseball field and half a playground located on the water, for a seniors complex! It's an outrage! And people knew that when that playground was taken down, it would've a fight to get it back! The nerve of the builders and the CBRM to not put it back! Crock of you know what! People have to stand up and bring attention to this or nothing will be done! Congrats for going to the media for it?

  • George Lovell
    September 27, 2013 - 22:17

    Great article! Lets hope this sparks communication between the CBRM, the community of North Sydney and the Atlantic Baptist Senior Citizen Homes on the issue. This community just wants our playground back as promised.

  • Sharla
    September 27, 2013 - 21:58

    I, too, was very disappointed when the ball field was taken for the Senior's complex and the playground not replaced BUT, I also don't agree with sticking children with protest signs and photographing them for any form of media. We want our kids to be healthy and active but do we have to teach them at a young age to be protesters when maybe half of them do not even know what it means? Let's stop using our children for pawns and yes, the playground should be replaced and if parents want to protest publically, go for it, but leave the children out of it!

    • R U KIDDING ME???
      September 27, 2013 - 22:25

      My Dear Sharla, you should read the signs that the children were holding. Protesting is not what they were doing, they were helping bring attention to an issue being ignored by the CBRM. The community wants our playground back, and by community we mean EVERYBODY who lives here, including children. My child was one holding a sign, I have taught my child to fight for what she believes in, and this is a prime example. The rally was peaceful, the signs are tasteful and I am very proud of the fact that the children of this community are learning that they too can make a difference!

  • Please
    September 27, 2013 - 19:49

    If they were so concerned about childhood obesity they wouldn't have built a seniors' complex over a baseball field; over what was essentially the most central, well-lit green space in North Sydney. If anyone still believes we'll see them rebuild that playground you've another thing coming. Saw this coming miles away when the project was announced.

    • Forgotten Taxpayer
      September 27, 2013 - 20:40

      I agree. Using green space for seniors' residences or extended care homes is poor planning. The Northside has lost half of Munro Park and the ball field on High Street. There are a number of areas where there are numerous vacant homes - buy up these lots and refurbish these neighbourhoods before ruining parks.