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Note even the light wind of Saturday had the rain halfway through the structure.  The media attended but other than us hardly 20 arrived for the event.
COMMENTARY · 14th June 2010
Merv Ritchie
The weather was perfect this past weekend to provide ideal conditions for the City officials to experience their new structure at George Little Park. Some could hear the laughter echoing in the distant clouds from Jim Ryan.

One point three million dollars and counting for a structure that provides virtually no shelter, no acoustic resonance. Nothing except a piece of architectural beauty that would fit better in downtown Toronto, which some refer to as a glorified tent. Many Terrace residents were waiting for the structure to be completed with walls and were shocked to hear it was done, no walls included.

City planner David Block took to the microphone to open the official ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project. Facing into the wind and rain he acknowledged the poor planning of the event. Prince Rupert was hosting their annual Seafest celebrations and Kitimat was hosting their annual Bull-o-Rama event. This too was a reflection of a City far out of touch with the common man and woman.

Block spoke about this revision to George Little Park being part of the City’s vision and consultations to revise the downtown area of Terrace. He also spoke about how the Park was first surveyed by City Founder George Little and thus being the oldest Park in Terrace. What he failed to acknowledge was this type of concrete covering of the park and the erosion of the green space was against Mr. Little’s vision. The park was to be left as a park, not a commercial concrete jungle. The other point which seems to be avoided is the destruction of the previous structure.

It was another notorious Terrace resident, Jim Ryan who had a vision for hosting music events in the Park. Designing an acoustic ‘true’ Band Shell, he organized with others a complete volunteer effort for residents to be proud of. Unceremoniously this was rudely destroyed and hauled off to make way for the waste of over a million dollars.

From the website designed by Kermodei Tourism, Jim Ryan Bandshell was named after the man who got our very active community band up and running and is the site of many activities. Situated in such a way that music seems to bounce off the upper benches in town, it has been known for local residents of the horseshoe area to sit in their back yards and listen to the music. Well that was short lived.

There is lot to say about this and many will have their own opinions. Obviously we have ours. But let’s address this as a very simple issue; start with $1.3 million and see what you might do.

Many have complained about the acts of rude behaviour in the Park and at the old Band Shell. Graffiti, fornication, defecation and open intoxication all took place within the confines of the structure. If this was an issue and you had such unlimited funds, top roll shutters could easily have been purchased and installed on the side entrances and down the front opening. Even if a special design needed to be fabricated this would likely still be achieved for $50,000.

So with that one simple solution taken care of one could use $250,000 to $300,000 to tear down what really needed to be torn down and hauled away, the old Co-op building on Greig Ave between the Terrace Best Western and Keenleyside Insurance.

If that was done and these funds were allowed to be used in such a reasonable fashion there would be an entire million dollars left to do something with the Co-op property.

And so this brings us to the Farmers Market. The location it was in was not always the best in the sometimes frequent rainy weather. Puddles would form and the marketers would sometimes scrape little channels to redirect it away. Where the City has placed it now is maybe a slight bit better although lots of parking for those attending have been lost, a better location might be where the levelled Co-op could have been. A large parking area for RV’s, a permanent Farmers market and a Flea market area. Next to the George Little House and the Via Rail train Station would seem almost too reasonable for a City out of touch with reality.

The City was offered this money, $600,000 from the Federal Government and $300,000 from the Provincial Government if we (Terrace) put up $300,000. This $300,000 is now approaching $400,000 of money Terrace did not have. If the Feds and the Province insisted on the destruction of the Park and the Bandshell to get the $900,000 so we could waste $400,000, we didn’t have, then we should have said “Thanks, but no thanks.” No if the Feds and the provincial Governments offered these funds and said ‘Do what you want for your City, as long as you use it to beautify your City, then we should have found an administration that was in touch with reality, not one that cares not a wit for the people and there previous efforts.

Read the original post on the Spirit Square $300,000 from the Province HERE.

The wind and rain was a beautiful thing to watch. We wonder if the children who wish to show off their newly acquired music skills, as Jim Ryan envisioned, will enjoy the wind and rain blowing through this open air structure as much as Mayor Pernarowski and David Block did. To top off all the excitement of this special occasion less than 25 people came out to share in this event. An entire day of entertainment was planned but even as the skies started to clear and another group began to unload their music equipment it became apparent that this entire boondoggle was and is a failure; beautiful, but a failure, a 1.3 million dollar fiasco.

And adding to this embarrassment, as a foot note, contractors and crews came from Prince George to build it. Really, who cares about the people who live here anyways, we're just a nuisance after all.

A previous, equally curt commentary, on this and the entire process, was published in August 2009, HERE.
These engraved panels speak to the history of the Band Shell that is no more
These engraved panels speak to the history of the Band Shell that is no more
David Block stands to open the event with Mayor Pernarowski behind him.  Note the speaker wrapped in plastic.
David Block stands to open the event with Mayor Pernarowski behind him. Note the speaker wrapped in plastic.
Even with the participants who happened to come to the farmers market the 'Plaza' was all but empty
Even with the participants who happened to come to the farmers market the 'Plaza' was all but empty
ponders, hmm
Comment by Brian Grant on 20th June 2010
After seeing it first hand a few times..its not that bad..but for a few million..hmmm?? ponders WOW!..i noticed some cracks already on stage area....for a million + i would expect some kind of fixing?? maybe.......whos responsible..?
Another Bungle
Comment by James Ippel on 17th June 2010
Again we have a memorial to a hard working citizen of the community erradicated-the Bandshell. Jim Ryan was a man dedicated to music, and the community. He designed a Bandshell that was accoustically sound, and even people living on the bench could enjoy the music. What do we have now??? Looks good, if you like this kind of structure.
Accoustically sound??-not bloody likely. All for the sake of a few grants, putting concrete in green space, and in the end running short of money.
Does this scenario sound familiar for Terrace?
What else, do you ask? Well how about the memorials to two hardworking and dedicated people in the education field who had schools named after them. With the stroke of a pen their names were forever thrown away, irradicated, thrown into the sewer, and for what? In case you don't know who I am referring to: E.T. Kenney, and Clarence Michiel.
How insulting
Comment by Rose Fleming on 15th June 2010
I agree that we have certainly not honoured or respected the wishes of George Little , Jim Ryan and the sad that these legacies were dismissed for something that is totally useless and impractical (to say the least). The Farmers Market is quite wonderful though. We appear to have a new legacy now...what were they thinking?
Band Shell
Comment by Jane Fregin on 15th June 2010
What I want to know is the City prepared to do something about River Boat Days if it is raining? I can not imagine any musician will be willing to take a chance with there instruments or what about the people who supply the equipment? Do you have a back up plan. Or will you just cancel concerts in the park. I do agree with the comment about it being a beautiful piece of Architect it's just wasn't well thought out. I guess only time will tell.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 15th June 2010
I love the updated park and agree totally with C.Arnold.

Paul Evans:
I see calls for tenders in the Terrace Standard.
I think the Chamber of Commerce could provide resources to centralize tender requests. Maybe a website to promote buying local?

Eric Gavelin:
I believe you are questioning why people follow others without question and then take the article itself at face value. The unquestioned following behavior has developed a pattern?
I think it's a huge improvement
Comment by C. Arnold on 14th June 2010
For our city's $300,000.00+ investment we got four times the value if the work was over 1.3 million. That doesn't sound like a bad deal to me. I think that there are some design flaws as far as providing shelter goes and maybe there could have been some optional pannels or something but I think it looks fantastic. It is a million times better for the farmers market than the dirty old lot it was squished into before. I think the old bandshell served our community well, and of course there was some sentimental value (I proposed to my wife there 15 years ago!) but thank goodness someone has the sense to look at moving our community forward. With any project of this size there will always be people that think the money could have been spent elsewhere but I think it's a fantastic improvement and great value for Terrace.
Was it put out to bid?
Comment by Paul Evans on 14th June 2010
> And adding to this embarrassment, as a foot note, contractors and crews
> came from Prince George to build it. Really, who cares about the people who
> live here anyways, we're just a nuisance after all.

I heard it wasn't even put out there. Is that the case?
Comment by eric gavelin on 14th June 2010
Come again what!!! Wow we really need to have someone's a#S for this. This is not the only place in this city where money is thrown down the toilet and no one is held to account.

How does one consider, asses and plan a project like this and get other to follow along as well. It boggles the mind how a screw up of this magnitude could occur.

Shame on you who are responsible Do a better or job or we will find someone capable.