Squamish’s neighborhoods are remarkable in their diversity. Each having their own cultureand history, pro’s and con’s. There’s Brackendale with eagles and a privately interrupted public dyke. The Highlands have their remarkable views and infamous roving youth gangs. Meanwhile Dentville and Downtown’s endless character, and characters try to shake the ghetto reality. Then there’s Valleycliffe, the post-ghetto working families burb.
Post Olympic bid, Valleycliffe has seen dramatic change. Yet even with rocketing hosing prices and changing faces, the ‘cliffe remains a hard knock burb. No doubt this is partly due to the astounding difficulty for pedestrians to get in and out of the hood.
For over a decade there have been only two ways for a pedestrian to legally get in and out of Valleycliffe. You could walk the highway taking your chances with Whistler traffic as you walked the narrow shoulder of cracked pavement reserved for glass and dirt sweepings. Or you could use the trail with a section only the most agile could navigate without getting on all fours. And that was when the trail was in good shape. Back in my carefree days, I didn’t mind the adrenaline charge of dogging cars or jumping log creek crossings, but in the dark, or with a stroller, it’s a freakin’ nightmare.
Recently, Paul Demers’ column rightly commented that Kiewit is endangering the lives of people trying to walk from Valleycliffe to downtown. I’m shocked anyone is surprised since Valleycliffe pedestrians have always had to risk their life. Some may think it’s insane for children to be forced to run across a bridge with traffic, sadly we’re getting used to it now. You see, several months ago the only road in and out of the main part of Valleycliffe was washed away in a flood. It was replaced with a “temporary” bridge. For the last several months pedestrians have been forced to sprint across a slippery, narrow bridge with absolutely no safe pedestrian crossing.
And that’s just the kids and adults going to work, school, or the grocery store. It’s nothing compared to the scary stuff toddlers and children contend with in the only public playground facility in Valleycliffe: McNaughten (aka: McNaughty) Park.
You should see this thing. Remember those late 70’s tinker toy playgrounds that were great in the day? Well, there’s the chard remains of one of those in the middle of a burnt spoon and broken bottle infested sandbox. Children are actually scolded if they go anywhere near this park while parents try to explain “sorry sweetie, that playground is for junkies only”.
The reckless teen in me laughs and thinks if a kid can survive that playground, then breaking an ankle on a neglected district trail or being forced to run on the highway is child’s play.
The loving parent in me however is terrified and baffled that these unsafe situations have continued for so long. Word is, and has been for a while, renovations are coming. Until then I guess it’s just part of livin’ in the ‘cliffe