Fruitvale keeping watch on park

If you are heading to Creekside Community Park any time soon, smile, you’ll be on camera.

If you are heading to Creekside Community Park any time soon, smile, you’ll be on camera.

The Village of Fruitvale has elected to install cameras at the popular park in order to curb the chronic case of vandalism it has been afflicted with in recent years — and to protect the significant investment the community has made in the park’s infrastructure.

In summer of 2009, as part of a plan to re-energize the park, new green gym equipment was installed at Creekside, including seven outdoor (12 years and up) fitness equipment stations.

In addition, a new play structure was also installed for younger children. This was done through the support of grants from the Union of BC Municipalities and the Province’s Healthy Communities program. Last year picnic tables and trees were added.

Unfortunately, Creekside continued to suffer vandalism since the improvements began. As a result, the Village had to repair some of the equipment and to completely replace one of the stations.

The community tried to stop the vandalism via the education route through the issuing of a newsletter, as well as researching loitering deterrent methods for evenings, and even installing additional lighting.

However, vandalism continued and so council was forced to approve the installation of video cameras in the park to deter future vandals.

Eighteen months and much community consultation and deliberation after it started the process the Village of Fruitvale has an Official Community Plan.

On Monday, Nov. 7 at their regular meeting Fruitvale Village council passed Official Community Plan (OCP) Bylaw 835.

An OCP is usually reviewed every five years and redone if necessary, said Village chief administrative officer Lila Cresswell.

In June of 2010 council directed her to expedite the project. Subsequently, the village had numerous focus groups, coffee drop-in meetings, special interest group consultations, elementary and high school student engagement sessions.

That was followed by an official open house and more focus groups to discuss the draft plan, more review and amendment of the plan.

It concluded with referrals to provincial government agencies.

The draft plan bylaw was presented at a public hearing for more comment on Oct. 17 and was finally adopted Nov. 7.

• Council presented Holly Gordon and Corrine Grayson with the Communities in Bloom Award for their excellence in maintaining the beautification of downtown.

• The sewer systems have all been checked and repaired as needed. Upgrades to the waste water treatment plant continue and are almost complete at a cost of $1.3 million — a cost to be spaced over several years. The lagoons are no longer part of the system.

• A development variance permit from Leather and Steel was approved to allow for construction of the facade with new signage in the old west theme.

• An application for a Boulevard development permit of 1795 First St. was approved to extend the Allen block retaining wall approximately five feet from the property line into the boulevard.