Letter: Coun. Chak Au chides council’s closed-door decision

Dear Editor,

Earlier in a closed meeting, council decided not to consider the replacement of the neighbourhood playground at the former Rideau Park elementary school site until the capital budget cycle in 2017. 

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This decision was announced in the public council meeting on March 22.

Since last October, the residents in the Rideau Park neighbourhood have been deprived of any playground equipment after it was removed by the school district for safety considerations. 

Council’s recent decision would mean they will continue to be deprived of an equipped playground until the summer of 2017. 

This is almost two years in time! 

As parks and playgrounds are crucial services for the public to ensure healthy communities, how could this be acceptable?

Equally troubling is that the decision was made in a closed meeting, and the public had no chance to participate in the discussion and did not know how the decision was made. This matter was first brought up in an open parks, recreation and cultural services committee meeting on Oct. 27, 2015. 

A referral to staff was made at the meeting to investigate options for the redevelopment of the playground and report back. There is no reason that the matter should be discussed behind closed doors when a decision has to be made. Transparency in decision-making is a commitment we owe to the public.

I believe there is nothing to justify that the decision be made confidentially and council should reconsider its decision in a public meeting.

Coun. Chak Au


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