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December 16, 2010

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Adrian

That's probably a fair approach. Give them a shot at buying it. If they don't then the City might consider developing it as a public space - if there aren't more suitable locations elsewhere. In the spring, you should stroll down there and see what it's all about. I really don't think it's desirable as a public space. Julian mentioned (below) the new Rotary dock on Yellowknife Bay that goes a ways and then just stops. It would be like that. I didn't even know it was there. The city actually also has a dock half way up Morrison Drive at the south end of Otto Drive. It is a great place to put in your kayak, but I've never seen anyone using the park bench down there. I did break up a fight between two intoxicated teenagers there once (male and female drinking and fighting in a parked car - not even joking).

You can't just slap in a dock walk and expect it to create an enjoyable public space. There is more to it than that. Now if you were to create a nice circuit trail up on Tin Can Hill, that would be money well spent, in my opinion. Build some viewing platforms. Great views of the lake from up there. It would be well utilized.

Megan

I'm very unsympathetic to landowners who want exclusive use of public land. If they want to own the shoreline, they should talk to the city about purchasing that land and paying taxes on it. If they did that as a group, this whole discussion would be over and I would support their efforts to stop the dock walk. As it is, I think it's a legitimate project: maybe not something I'd prioritise over other projects, but certainly not one that should be stopped because the neighbours want exclusive use.

Adrian

You basically just summed up the whole argument in support of this thing. But supposing that space next to your parents' house had been technically "public" but was more or less inaccessible and effectively unusable by anyone but your parents - and it had been that way ever since the town was founded in 1940ish. And suppose your parents bought the house ten years ago with the knowledge that while it was "technically" not theirs, de facto, it was. They would have paid a premium for that exclusive access. And, they would have considered the possibility that they might lose their exclusive use very remote, especially given that city council rejected the idea 12 years ago.

I mean, people have float planes tied up down there - in their back yards. Imagine the value that adds to a property.

To be sure, the CIty has every legal right to take that space back. But wherever your parents live, that city has every legal right to bulldoze the green space next door and build a sewage lift station in its place. You would hope they'd explore other options before doing that.

Megan

I don't totally get why the "dock walk" would necessarily be so bad for property values. It wouldn't totally cut off the landowners' access, would it? It would just create a walkway along the shore on land that is already publicly owned, much like the Frame Lake trail, correct?

Perhaps I'll play devil's advocate. There is a really nice green space next to my house. It is beautiful and my family uses it all the time. I would really like to have it for my own private use instead of letting the public use it. I'm pretty sure my property would increase in value if the city would just hand this space over to me. How is this different?

Jay

Great post Adrian. I like your proposed alternative, and agree that the Morrison owners should be left alone (and taxed for the land they're using). Adding to it, I'd point out that the Rotary Club has already built half of a boardwalk around the willow flats, which abruptly ends after about 300m due to a lack of funding and will. The city could easily extend this boardwalk all the way around into the woodyard. It could then further extend down through the ENR base etc, all the way to the causeway if some private owners were willing to cooperate to open up the waterfront.

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