By David F. Rooney
With a roll out expected next summer, residents of both the city and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Area B began the process of jointly mapping out a Master Plan for Parks and Trails in this area.
“This is unique in terms of working with a municipality,” Roger Beardmore, the CSRD’s Parks and Recreation manager, said at an Open House held at the Community Centre on Thursday evening. “We have common objectives but how we get it done is a challenge.”
Revelstoke is, of course, a member municipality in the regional district. However, they are two distinct governments and this collaborative development of a joint plan is a definite first.
“We’re usually like two solitudes,” Beardmore said.
Area B Director Loni Parker said despite that reality, this is “a timely thing to do” from her point of view because the joint Master Plan forms “a key piece of the Area B Official Community Plan.”
“The City and the CSRD generally find ways to work together,” she said, noting that many Area B residents rely on the City of Revelstoke for many recreational amenities as well as fire protection and other services while urbanites use the rural area around the city for recreational purposes.
For City Planner John Guenther the “big question” revolves around the trail networks that could be developed in and around the city.
“Think of the kind of trail network that should link together people and places,” he said.
Unlike roads and highways that link centres large and small for motorized transport, trails can link together people and places such as the Community Centre, municipal and provincial parks, schools and the resort in ways that are immediate and personal.
That can be a very good thing if friction between motorized and non-motorized user groups can be minimized.
There is a certain amount of tension, not always a bad thing, that exists between these different kinds of recreational user groups that access the great outdoors around Revelstoke but “it’s how we deal with it, manage it that matters,” Beardmore said.
So far, there appears to be a willingness on the part of the different user groups to find common ground and to try and accommodate each others needs and points of view. Parker said that was evident at a stakeholders’ meeting held earlier in the day.
She also noted that the CSRD and the City have sponsored a survey to determine public attitudes towards parks and trails. You can take the survey yourself by clicking here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=BJjJeDbxqZ8jHGnjOBjlsQ_3d_3d.
The plan is being developed by a consultant who will bring back recommendations to the City and the CSRD in the spring. The joint plan is to be completed by next summer.