By Win Wachsmann. While walking in Mill Lake park on Friday evening I came across an extremely unusual and troubling sight.
At the west end of Mill Lake Park near the pool and the water slides I spotted that about 50 tents, tent trailers and trailers had set up overnight camping spots.
Not only were the camping trailers and tents located on the beautiful lawns of the park, but I also saw cars and trucks parked next to these suspect overnighters. To top it off, a number of cars and trucks were also driving through the park to and from their selected sites.
All these folks and vehicles were now fighting for lawn space with the resident geese.
What was going on?
Who were these visitors who were eating and imbibing adult beverages in public and in front of the children.
Where were Abbotsford’s finest? Why were they allowing public consumption of adult beverages in a public park?
And not a hint of chicken manure.
Was it a group of “Travellers” who had emigrated to Abbotsford from the old country?
Sadly, no gypsy violins and swirling crinolines to raise the heartbeat. That would have been a welcome feast for the senses.
Were all the campgrounds around Abbotsford full?
Then my lightning fast mind realized the answer.
A brand new plan?
I had stumbled upon Abbotsford Parks and Recreation Department’s new way of generating revenue for their depleted coffers.
Just think, at about $20 per site, that would generate about $1000 per night at Mill Lake. Another 1200 nights like this and they would be able to pay for the Downes Road bike lane. Alternatively, 500 nights like this and we would be able to repay the cost of the Friendship Garden.
If this worked at Mill Lake, we could soon expect to see these “overnight visitors” in all of our parks around Abbotsford. Fishtrap Creek, McDonald Park. Hougen Park. Matsqui Village Park (even without the pool) would not escape the camping hordes.
The only park to escape this transformation?
Of course. Jubilee Park.
Our visitors would be disturbed to see the locally disadvantaged denizens of our fair city and would not remit the requisite $20 per site.
Oh the humanity!