November 17th, 2018

Medicine Hat has a weed problem

By Letter to the Editor on June 8, 2018.

Re: “Parks and Recreation: June is Recreation and Parks Month, June 4

The writer of the column was Mr. Randy Taves, manager, Parks and Recreation, City of Medicine Hat. This city does in fact have an abundance of parks and facilities, but they are a far cry from the “beautiful outdoors” mentioned in the column. The column was a commendable, albeit contemptible, attempt to detract the focus of taxpayers away from a city owned weed-infested disgrace known community parks and play areas.

Unfortunately taxpayers living close to or adjacent to these public infrastructures are forced to endure these city-managed eyesores so eloquently described by Mr. Taves as our beautiful parks and recreation areas. They actually would be beautiful if the automated sprinkler systems were turned on, weeds were neutralized and appropriate watering cycles employed. But wait, would council now have to add more dollars to our burgeoning tax bills to accomplish these simple tasks? Let’s wait for that penny to drop shall we.

Fellow taxpayers, does this not now sound like the “let’s-do-nothing” and “let-the-current-system-fail” approach? It certainly does to me. The next thing you know council will come to the taxpayers cap-in-hand to advise us that they are understaffed and underfunded so they need to raise our taxes to accomplish work they are already funded to complete. We’ve seen that tax-grab game played a couple of times before. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of this city, the majority of these parks are little more than a collection of unsightly, under-watered, unkempt, dandelion-infested fields.

This is a sad reflection on what truly is a beautiful place to live.

This parks and recreation embarrassment exists while the mayor and council dance their merry jig up and down Box Springs Road celebrating a couple of major industrial infrastructure developments, (I truly congratulate you on those accomplishments). However our elected city officials and managers are concentrating on the wrong “weed.” I and thousands of others throughout this city work hard to keep our yards in a clean and visually appealing condition; even couples and individuals who work tirelessly in full- and part-time positions make the effort to keep their yards and personal spaces as neat and clean as possible, in spite of the city’s continual lack of commitment to maintain their parks and play areas.

Please ponder this question: Does Medicine Hat want to be known affectionately as the Grass City or will it be the Weed Capital of the Canada? Only time will provide the answer, meantime, this city council should commit to watering its parks regularly and at minimum make a concerted effort to control these weed infestations.

Ken Pirie

Medicine Hat

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