The Regional District of the Central Kootenay board is investing over $85,000 to create a four-park management plan.
The plan — which includes Balfour Beach, Crescent Valley Beach, Waterloo Eddy and Pass Creek, as well as a design development plan for Crescent Valley Beach Park — is intended to provide direction on development and use of the parks for 10 years.
Kelowna-based Ecoscape Environmental Consultants Ltd. was awarded the contract last week.
Each park has a unique designation. Balfour Beach and Waterloo Eddy are both undeveloped waterfront regional parks under Crown land tenure with the Ministry of Forests for regional park use. Crown land tenures do not allow for exclusive use and any improvements need approval from the province. No permanent structures may be fixed to the ground.
The well-used Crescent Valley Beach Park is 2.53 hectares of waterfront on the Slocan River. It is entirely with in the agricultural land reserve and was recently donated to the RDCK for park purposes.
Pass Creek Regional Park is a well established 14.6 hectare park in Robson, across the Columbia River from Castlegar. The RDCK property, which includes camping and sports fields, has been developed thanks to the efforts of many volunteers.
Waterloo Eddy is a relatively small park in lower Ootischenia at 3.7 hectares, the majority of which is zoned as limited recreation. The remaining area is zoned as special features due to its archaeological potential.
In a report to the board, development services manager Sangita Sudan wrote that Ecoscape scored the highest in the RDCK evaluation committee’s review.
While the RDCK received four proposals, Sundan wrote that EEC’s strength was their project approach and methodology.
“They also demonstrated a clear understanding of the scope of what is required and have well defined roles and responsibilities of key personnel. Their team includes ecologists, planners, GIS technician, facilitators and architects (the MMM Group Ltd.) to oversee the landscape development for Crescent Valley Beach,” she said.
“Each park has high conservation values which showcase the region’s biological diversity. The park management plans will identify these values, in addition to issues, opportunities, and constraints associated with the parks to establish goals and objectives that can be implemented [over the] next ten years.”
Creating the plan will involve a public consultation process, including surveys and open houses.
Sudan wrote that “this will enable the RDCK to enhance the overall usability, access and experience of each park while considering the cost of further development to get there. Currently the purpose and operations statements are the only planning documents available for the parks and are limiting as they don’t provide the true cost or the overall vision of the community for the park.”
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser.