Paterson Park in Ladner. (James Smith photo)

COLUMN: It takes a village to make a village

ML Burke plans to work with city council to develop affordable housing at Ladner’s Paterson Park

I’ve been feeling the blues for a while and believe it’s due to the growing list of events I have little control over, such as climate change deniers, Trumpism, voting fatigue, addictions, racism, homelessness and the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. With Christmas approaching I wanted to give you (and myself) some hope.

It finally came to me in the wee hours. There is something I can do, although it may require a little help from you. In my last column I gave Mayor George Harvie and our new council a wish-list of sorts. Part of that list included Paterson Park and affordable housing: “To have visioning workshops where the community can have real input into this unique parcel of available city-owned land.”

Here’s my plan: to work with the City of Delta to do a visioning workshop or forum where interested citizens come together to learn and share their best ideas for the future of Paterson Park (pictured above). I will donate my time and expertise to do a 20-minute opening presentation on innovations in housing, recreation and community planning. This would help to spark ideas and form breakaway interest groups. I’m thinking a Saturday morning in the early spring. If it is successful, this could be the first of a few forums.

Remember, the last council said that Paterson Park was for a future council to determine. Alright then, welcome to the future, new council.

In exchange for my donated time and expertise, I would ask the city to host this event by providing a venue, like the Ladner Community Centre, and a professional to facilitate. Some refreshments would also be nice. This would be an informative exchange, not only for our politicians but also an opportunity for Delta’s residents and business community to be heard.

It could be the beginning of a plan for Paterson Park that addresses most of our needs and desires across all income levels. It could be a model mini-village that other cities will look at to replicate. Design contests could go out to planners and architects. This unique piece of land so close to amenities could be a world-class experiment in innovation. We just need to collaborate on what we want at that location so our elected leaders can move forward in a timely manner.

I have written to the mayor and council, formally requesting they approve hosting the above-noted forum to be held in the spring of 2019. This is where you come in. If this interests you I hope you will support this plan by writing to the mayor and council or responding to this column, and participating in the forum when it happens. I’m already working on my presentation. Okay, I’m feeling much better and I hope you are too.

By the way, if you would like some company and a great Christmas Day dinner, Shirley Brown and her family are generously hosting it again this year, except at a more central location — All Saints Anglican Church, 47A Street and Arthur Drive. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.. It’s a free event with board games, entertainment and delicious food. The poster says volunteers are welcome.

ML Burke retired from the health sector to work on issues such as affordable housing. She sits on the Delta Seniors Planning Team and the BC Seniors Advocate’s Council of Advisors.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

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