A sign entering the Artisan Gardens subdivision off River Road in Chemainus urges drivers to “Slow down, Kids playing.”
That’s ironic since kids are no longer allowed to play on Askew Creek Drive entering the neighbourhood and a corresponding cul-de-sac after a 15-4 vote by the strata council of the development.
That prompted immediate outrage from parents who reside there because it’s a more affordable place for those with young families to buy or rent a house. A second stage of the development is currently under construction.
“I’m extremely frustrated and disappointed that now I live in a neighbourhood where I kind of feel a little ostracized,” parent Christa Howard told CTV News Vancouver Island.
Literally no one was around Friday with the ban in effect. No one was immediately available from the site’s strata board to explain the decision.
It’s believed to be all about safety with some residents concerned about backing into kids while coming out of their driveways, particularly in a couple of cramped locations in the subdivision.
“Occasionally, they jump out at times,” one resident, Leslie Baronas, told CTV.
It’s obvious and entirely unanimous how the kids feel about the ban.
“Pretty silly,” commented Hannah Clark to CTV. “They say they want us outside more, get off the Internet and video games. They’re telling us to go back inside, pretty much.”
Social media blew up after the public got wind of the ban on kids’ roadway play, particularly on Chemainus Shoutouts.
“Unreal, especially when that area is an affordable part of town for parents to buy a home,” commented Laurie Douglas. “You would think the older people living around them would welcome the sounds of kids in the neighborhood. If that was me living there, I would be selling.”
Long-time Chemainus Valley Courier columnist Ron Waller didn’t mince his feelings on the issue.
“As a kid growing up here, some of my fondest memories are playing kick the can on the streets, hockey, riding my bike etc.,” he commented. “How about people taking a minute to walk to the back of their car to ensure it is safe to back up? I am considered an old person and I find this embarrassing for my peers. Ask them, did they ever play on the streets?
“In retrospect I am in shock. We provide them with TVs, video games, lotsa movies to watch and yet they want to go outside and play. How dare they get in my way when I get into my car. Next, they are going to start laughing, screaming and generally having fun in front of my house. I say lock ‘em up inside.”
“Sounds like these elderly need to find something to complain about,” added Jacquie Ree-Otsig. “Guess they don’t remember when they were young, growing up, having fun. No fun allowed here. It’s not a highway for heaven sakes.”
Some sided with the board or at least understood the decision it made.
“I’m not trying to sound like an old grump, but I don’t think I would want my child sitting on the street drawing in chalk, or even playing games,” noted Jenni Howse. “A street is a place cars drive. Not a playground. Quiet street or not. I sort of disagree about bikes. I’m sure you’re allowed to ride a bike down the street. Just not around in circles. I understand in this day and age backyards are smaller, people don’t have property, but if someone backed over your child, or turned onto the street and hit him on his bicycle as he turned around in the middle of the street, you would be quite upset.”
Other people even wondered if the strata council had the right to impose such a ban.
“I believe this may actually be unconstitutional,” noted Zoe Nedelec. “There is always a point where regulation, even on property you own, can go too far. This one is discriminatory, so sad for those families.”