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‘Over here’

Elizabeth Park man says town owes his area some attention

Chris Lewis | July 9, 2020

Elizabeth Park is one of Paradise’s biggest subdivisions, but some residents feel it could be afforded extra attention.

There are approximately 3,000 people living in Elizabeth Park, making up somewhere around 14 per cent of the Town’s overall population. Resident Sheldon Antle, who has been living in Elizabeth Park for about a decade and who ran for a position on council in 2017, said it was when he saw his own son waiting at a crosswalk, vehicles flying by at high rates of speed, that he decided it was time to try and make his voice heard.

Antle said is fully aware that problems relating to speeding vehicles and poor road conditions are issues faced by municipalities province-wide, but argued if no one says anything about it, nothing will be done.

Antle said he recently detailed his concerns in an e-mail to the members of council. His list included the disrespect that some motorists have for the area’s crosswalks, the conditions of the roads, the amount of speeding, and the subdivision’s need for more attention from the Town.

“These have been ongoing for a while now. It’s certainly nothing new, nor do I think these are issues unique to Elizabeth park,” Antle said. “But, the lightbulb moment for me, was when I watched four cars driving through an intersection while a nine-year-old child was standing on the corner with his bike. It’s not the first time I’ve seen that, and it’s not just something happening to children. I’ve seen adults stand there on the side as cars blow through the intersection. It’s tough to watch.”

Antle said he did get a response from most of the councillors, who all assured him his concerns will be brought up at the next council meeting. Antle said he hopes this will be the first step in getting the issues remedied, but knows there is still plenty of work to do before seeing substantial change in his neighbourhood. He said that by getting the word out and providing a voice for the many concerned citizens in Elizabeth Park, the area will get more attention.

With so many people coping with pandemic isolation by taking a walk or jog around town, Antle said it can be frustrating to see such a regular disregard for the rules of the road.

“I pulled over on the side of the road, just to see what would happen,” Antle said of the incident involving his son, who is making regular trips around the subdivision on his bicycle for the first time. Antle said he wanted to make sure his son was following the rules on his bike. “While doing that, I also saw all these other people – adults –  not (following the rules). These are people given the responsibility of a vehicle, and they’re just flying on down through intersections. That made me think.”

Not too long ago, Antle added, another glaring issue in Elizabeth Park became apparent to him: the state of the subdivision’s roads.

“I went over some bumps on Canterbury, and I realized … wow, we’re still dealing with Snowmaggedon infrastructure issues,” Antle said. “But, I also realized that the only way council would be able to address things like this is if they know about it. So, I put my thoughts out there to the Mayor and council.”

While pleased that he has received a positive response from council, Antle said Elizabeth Park has not seen the same level of investment from the Town as other areas. He cited a lack of green spaces, community space, and general recreation available to children in the subdivision, compared to the central part of Paradise which is home to a youth center, splash pads, and Paradise Park. The Paradise Road area and Topsail Pond Road area have more playgrounds too, he argued, including Peter Barry Duff Park in the latter instance, which was initially built and funded privately by the Duff family and gifted to the town.  

“It’s not that we’re like the forgotten family member,” Antle said, admitting that Elizabeth Park does have some things for young people, but even one of the playgrounds had to be fundraised for by local children. “But, the priority right now seems to be for basically everything past the overpass by Cozy Kitchen, and more specifically toward the Octagon Pond area … There’s not going to be a lot of new development in Elizabeth Park – it’s kind of a self-contained little area so there’s not much further they can go.”

Antle said he feels as though the town’s emphasis has been put on the other subdivisions, and while he understands that it’s important for a town to grow and further its tax base, he does not want to see Paradise’s largest subdivision get put to the wayside.

Since making his concerns public, Antle said, he has received a significant response from fellow Elizabeth Park residents. Through that, he was introduced to an entire area near the Canterbury Road Extension that he and others feel could make for a good green space.

“Maybe that could be one of the first steps in addressing the ATV concerns people have been having in the subdivision,” Antle suggested.

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