Seymour Bay Park redefined
To the editor:
I am somewhat perplexed by the recently appointed Greenways Committee’s recommendations for Seymour Bay Park. It was stated that “the committee’s report clarifies Seymour Bay Park’s designation as a passive park” (some of committee’s findings can be reviewed at www.bowenislandundercurrent.com/news/198240001.html).
Whatever you might think of the committee’s plans for this park, let us at least have an accurate depiction of the definition, nature and purpose of a passive park. Results of a Google search of “passive versus active” parks seem at odds with the characterization of “passive” as stated in the report.
One park supervisor describes a passive park as a public area designated as a park, but that does not afford facilities or equipment for exercise or play: i.e a nature park or green space. It can have benches or trails, but is not conducive for for any active use, such as sport or play.
One city with a number of passive parks describes them as not having playground or sport equipment and being simply designed to enhance the community through the passive beauty of green space.
Another definition defines such a park as one that (a) is open to the public only for passive recreational activity (such as pedestrian activities, hiking and jogging); (b) serves as or features historical, cultural or archeological attractions; (c) does not allow organized competitive activities; and (d) is maintained in a natural state or is an area of land set aside for passive common use, where certain types of activities are restricted. And finally, as simply said by the city of Portland: “natural areas and wildlife habitat are known as passive parks. These parks also generally value trees and habitat higher than views.”
I believe the original intent of the Seymour Bay Park under our OCP was that it would be retained as a passive park. Therefore, I believe the committee’s recommendations are a substantive change in the type and proposed use of Seymour Bay Park.
There is community value in all parkland, but it is important to understand that not all parks are equal nor serve the same purpose. And that passive parks (left in a more natural state of ecology and gently used) are fundamentally different and serve different purposes than active ones.