Don’t miss the meeting tonight at 6pm at the CB Hall regarding Kokanee Springs land sale of the parcels connected to and including the CB wetlands and beach area.
See below for Garry Jackman’s article with pertinent information about this meeting…
Garry Jackman’s yet unedited article this month – pertains to tonight’s meeting, so please have a look…
CONTINUING ON OUTDOOR RECREATION
I want to provide more information on efforts to support outdoor activities based on amenities such as trails and beach/lake access points. As I noted last month, today there are 8 specific projects within Area A which connect to lakefront plus other projects to improve or extend trails. I will not repeat all of the detail as you can check my August submission for that information.
What I do want to cover this month is some of the mechanisms for identifying, planning and developing regional parks. First I want to provide a sense of how much taxation within the RDCK currently goes to support indoor and outdoor recreation. This needs to be viewed as a big picture when discussing regional sites which benefit locals plus visitors from our neighbouring communities or afar (tourists). The health, social and economic benefits of recreation will not be covered this month, neither will the conservation values of holding sensitive lands in the public realm or by partners with a conservation and stewardship mandate.
As you will usually hear me state during budget time, across the RDCK we have about 160 active services either supported individually or by groups of the 20 regional district partners (11 rural electoral areas plus 9 municipalities). Twenty five of these services are related to recreation. Why not combine some or all of them? That would be a big exercise and the topic does arise from time to time. Of the 25, three are localized recreation commissions (shared between a total of 6 partners) which do not fund buildings or capital but rather exist to support recreation programming, often through small grants to societies or clubs. Combined they requisitioned (through property tax) $91.5K in 2017, of which $35.4K was for Area A Rec 9.
There are 14 services which I would categorize as medium sized which support buildings (plus some outdoor rec) again in localized areas. These requisitioned $496.3K in 2017 but two of the services required no taxation, supporting their facilities with rents and grants. In addition, there are 4 services which support the larger recreation complexes; two services for the Castlegar and District complex which splits out the aquatic center as a separate service and one for each of the Creston and District and Nelson and District complexes. These services requisitioned almost $9.98 million dollars in 2017 to support both indoor and outdoor facilities. Note these facilities also have substantial revenues (rents and user fees) on top of the taxation. I worked up some charts on how these costs are distributed from community to community for the inevitable conversation around who benefits versus who pays. Overall I hope all residents of Area A can begin to understand what costs their neighbours down the highway currently face when we discuss regional park sites because we are definitely not all paying the same tax rates.
Looking at the big picture, so far this adds up to $10.56 million taxation within the RDCK focused on facilities and programs which are predominantly delivered within buildings or on groomed fields. In contrast the parks and trails services offer a less structured approach to recreation and access to nature. The RDCK has 4 regional parks services, some encompassing large areas with many partners and others like Area A which, for historic reasons, are stand alone. These services requisitioned $420.8K in taxation in 2017, with the Area A requisition being $28.5K. In the spring I recommended a $12.6K increase from the 2016 taxation of $15.9K in order to have funds on hand for consulting services and/or additional planning for Area A, since we now have 8 sites for lake access enhancement under consideration.
So that is my lead in to what RDCK parks planning staff do. The RDCK has operational and planning staff for parks. Our planner, who provided information at the August 23rd public meeting in Crawford bay, solicits public input on investing in parks development, uses consultants and/or in house resources to search titles (private land) and research possible other interest in the land (for example first nations interest in public land), create maps showing options, provide valuations, draft plans for usage of a site and report with recommendations to the RDCK board. Operational staff comment on whether local stewardship groups appear to be in place to minimize the level of operational costs on the taxpayer plus provide estimates for operational budgets if the land is to be fully managed by the RDCK. In the areas where there are several local government partners pooling their funds a ‘master plan’ approach is generally used so that public input on several sites can be received at the same time. The recent master planning processes around Nelson, Castlegar and South Slocan cost between $30K to $50K each and took one to two years to complete. I have been in discussion with potential local government service partners south of Area A around a joint master plan but the current opportunities in the Crawford bay area are prompting a closer look at this area in the short term.
Last month, I said I would provide more on cemetery services in September but that will need to wait for now. If you have questions or comments on any topic please drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 250-223-8463.
Wynndel / East Shore Kootenay Lake