Action required to end Innisfail Park rowdiness

Innisfail Town Council passes motion to expedite solutions to disruptions at Centennial Park ahead of scheduled August 15 discussion

INNISFAIL – Fed up with the ongoing rowdiness in the town of Centennial Park, the council directed the administration to move immediately towards acquiring a front gate to prevent unwanted behavior late at night in the parking lot.

“Since last week or the week before, there were 50 people in the parking lot making a lot of noise,” Mayor Jean Barclay said at the July 25 regular council meeting. “I would say right now we have to start deciding what we’re going to do. People in the parking lot don’t use the park; they use the parking lot.

After an intense discussion lasting just over 13 minutes, council passed a motion to direct the administration to bring back the actual cost and scope of a gate for Centennial Park later this month.

The council planned to fix the Centennial Park parking issue on Aug. 15, a month after the administration released information about installing a parking barrier, which could cost the city up to $30,000. town.

The discussion was lengthy and the matter was postponed until August 15 for the administration to report more statistics on activity in the parking lot.

However, ongoing rowdiness issues at Centennial Park were raised again last week by the councilman. Jason Heistad, who told council that a park resident called him to complain. Heistad has been a leading voice on council for most of this year regarding the park’s endless noise issues.

“We have people who live in this area who are really fed up, and the council needs to make a final decision to respect those citizens in this area,” said Heistad, who told the council it would be beneficial to get more data on the problem. , especially on the community policing side, which he added takes time.

He also said that more proactive work with the community can still be done through the work of the community police and safety committee.

“I view the Police Committee as citizens of the community who we can rely on to know where these pressure points are in our community and where we as leaders, councilors and administrators can make Innisfail safer” , said Heistad.

However, Barclay said she received the same citizen call as Heistad and reached out to another resident. The mayor added that noise issues continued, with up to 50 people gathered and “burning donuts” in the parking lot.

“I would say that either party doesn’t mind people being in the parking lot (but) it’s the disrespect that’s going on for the residents of the area,” a said Barclay. “I think if you talk to these two residents, you can hear their frustration.

“I think it’s impacting our lot sales there because it’s in the community that there’s a lot of parking lot issues overnight,” Barclay said, adding that the heckling now includes some people coming out of the parking lot backwards to avoid parking. cameras capturing their license plates. “We have to find a solution one way or another to this.”

Barclay noted that the board had already been briefed on the data. She said there have been many conversations about the long-standing issues at Centennial Park and wondered what else the city could do to address the problem.

The mayor also said she was hopeful an education component could work, but now had doubts as the problems persisted.

Todd Becker, the city’s chief administrative officer, told council he believes the administration has provided an adequate and significant amount of information over the past few years about parking issues at Centennial Park.

“The details have been shared by manager (Gary) Leith, so it’s really in the realm of advice on how you want to proceed,” Becker said, noting that options are being considered, such as a settlement on updated parks, a beefed up app, and the gate.

Councilors Gavin Bates and Don Harrison both said the time had come when there was no more time to wait for the gate to be installed.

“I can’t think of anything but shutting down the park totally and we don’t want to do that,” Harrison said, agreeing with Barclay that education probably wouldn’t work.

“I don’t know how you educate someone who doesn’t want to be educated. They’ll just find a way around it. So let’s not prolong the agony. Let’s go over it (door) pretty quickly.

However, the con. Janice Wing warned that a parking gate could trigger further problems.

“From a planning standpoint, a gate isn’t going to change behavior,” Wing said. “It will only change the behavior.”

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