June 22nd, 2024

Neighbours pitching in, as resident says Legacy Park suffering neglect

By Herald on August 4, 2021.

Weeds and dry grasses grow up next to a security fence at a pond Wednesday morning at Legacy Park. A group of residents have taken the initiative to pull weeds as drought and City cuts take a toll on the park. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

A Lethbridge woman is livid with the condition of Legacy Park on the city’s northside and has decided to speak out.

Drying trees, dead grass and thick patches of weeds have prompted Connie Moch to go public with her concerns about the regional park. But she’s not only speaking out: along with a couple of other women, she’s taken the initiative to clean up weeds at Legacy themselves.

“The foxtail here is a real problem. What really got my blood boiling was the article in Saturday’s paper about the city wanting the public to basically help out and then they’re going on to say the city workers are doing all this. And I’m no, no,” said Moch Wednesday.

The story says “the city is doing what it can to combat the problem on public lands by mowing, weeding, pilling and tilling.”

Moch says the people doing the weeding are her and several other women who have taken it upon themselves to clean up the 73-acre park that includes various amenities including nature trails,  pathways, courts for tennis, pickle ball and basketball, baseball and soccer fields, a playground, skatepark, fitness equipment and an amphitheatre.

“We have a lady who knows a lot about the weeds and they have to be cut right down,” she said of the foxtail proliferating at Legacy.

“If the turf is healthy turf, it can choke it out but we do not have a healthy turf,” she said.

On a walking tour of the park, Moch pointed out thick patches of foxtail, thistles, dead grass and wilting trees.

“I’m a firm believer in put up or shut up,” said Moch, who along with a friend have by themselves weeded nine treed areas in the expansive park, filling more than 17 bags. Another woman and her friends have cleaned four areas, Moch estimates.

She and her friend also cleaned the fitness station of the thistles growing there. The equipment there, she said, is being used more now that the area has been weeded.

“This could be such a beautiful, beautiful park,” she said, pointing at an expanse of brown grass and cracked earth.

Moch says people watching their family members play tennis or use the skateboard park should be able to sit on green grass, not the patches of dry brown grass dominating much of Legacy Park’s landscape.

“That  should be lush, green, beautiful,” she said pointing to grass by the skateboard area.

You can’t even sit on the grass to watch your kids.”

Moch said the maintenance problem isn’t because of the city’s $500,000 cut to the city parks budget. The $24-million regional park, the Uplands resident said, wasn’t properly maintained from the first day it opened to the public in 2018.

“They got a budget cut of 500 grand and they’re telling us they’re doing less now? They never did anything before. I’ve got pictures from last year; they didn’t have the budget cut then,” said Moch, who wonders why the City is investing money on a planned spray park at Legacy when it isn’t maintaining what’s already there.

“Where’s that money coming from? Why can’t you water our trees, never mind (spend money on) the bloody spray park?,” Moch said.

“This park has been in trouble since 2018. But the last two years have really, really been bad.

“We’re trying to make it beautiful here,” she said of the efforts she and others are putting to remove weeds.

“Every time we’ve brought up the watering of the trees, it’s the pump house. It’s in litigation,” she said of discussions with the City.

“The grass can come back on its own, we all know that but these trees…they’ve taken so many trees out because they’re dead,” she said. Many of the trees are also suckering and those suckers need to be removed, she added.

“”I’m not going for accolades or anything like; there’s the three of us doing it and inmates are doing the rest,” she added.

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They lie. It’s time to privatize the parks and maintenance. This has nothing to do with a budget cut either. No accountability with current system. If private and trees die that company replaces at their cost.

pursuit diver

I don’t think privatization would be the way to go! We used to have better highway maintenance and service before privatization, especially in winter. That hasn’t gone well! The private company that maintained Highway 3 hill had several semi-trucks stuck on the hill because they would only scrape the snow and refused to lay any heavy sand/salt, stating that it would only make it mushy and damage windshields. So those that had chains chewed their way up the hill, biting into the asphalt, while others had to wait for tow trucks! One of many examples!
I a not sure if you read the article yet to the city’s response, which was ““We had some problems with the contractor on site,” he notes. “There are still some deficiencies we are still having to work through even three years later. Most notably it’s the irrigation. We have been having problems with the irrigation system since day one. And this year in particular, we have had a major shutdown of the irrigation system due to some failures.”
The issue is oversight of contractors and better contracts that demand certain levels of service or penalties would be levied.
We have a couple of companies in this city that for some reason are allowed to get contracts, while taking long periods to complete the tasks, causing disruptions in services and citizen’s access that need to be re-evaluated.
It is sad to see such a nice concept for park go into such a state and I do understand your frustration, but privatization only works short term until they get settled in and feel they can do what they want!
We just need to fix the issues that caused this!