Redwood Park Church Statement on Park and City of Thunder Bay

Community Submission

THUNDER BAY – “Redwood Park Church would like to share with our friends and neighbours what took place that led to the city removing the playground equipment located on Redwood’s property. Approximately one month ago, the City of Thunder Bay’s Parks Department contacted Redwood Park Church to discuss the future of the city owned playground located on land owned by Redwood Park Church. As the playground was ageing and presently over 30 years old, the city initiated a conversation with Redwood on the matter. In that discussion, several options pertaining to the playground were made. The first option was to turn over the ownership of the playground equipment to Redwood Park Church requiring Redwood to take complete responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the ageing equipment and update the playground to meet city guidelines. This option would require a significant financial commitment on the part of Redwood to update and maintain the up to now neglected equipment. The second option was for Redwood to give the City of Thunder Bay the land which the playground was sitting on. It was made clear in the conversation that there was no interest on the city’s part to make an offer to purchase the land. Furthermore, if Redwood opted to give the city the land, the city would commit to building a new playground on the property within the next 5 years. The third option would be that if Redwood would not be willing to give away the land and not be willing to take over the liability, maintenance and upkeep on 30-year-old playground equipment, the city would remove the equipment and restore the property to its original condition. During the conversation, the person representing the city stated an unwillingness to maintain the status quo of the current arrangement in which the city would continue to provide maintenance and upkeep on the equipment that rested on land owned by Redwood Park Church. At no time was there an offer to lease the land for a fee and at no time was there an offer to purchase the land. This left Redwood with no real viable option other than to communicate to the city that Redwood did not have a desire to give away our land for free nor were we in a financial position to take on both the liability risks and financial responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the playground. In light of this, the decision was made by the city to remove the equipment. It is unfortunate that there was no communication of this decision to remove the playground equipment by the city to the neighbourhood. We will miss this park, too.”