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Parks process raises questions

A Vernon politician wants long-term visioning without adding to bureaucracy.

Coun. Catherine Lord is concerned the city is developing a parks master plan without including recreational activities.

“I want to see them combined,” she said. “I don’t want to see a detailed plan on this and then a detailed plan on recreation.”

Lord points out that the previous regional district plan included parks and recreation, and covering both components would allow the public to be consulted at once.

“Such plans are costly.”

City staff say the master parks plan will include outdoor recreation, but a separate document will eventually be needed for indoor recreation.

“A significant amount of consulting dollars would be needed to investigate indoor facilities and growth,” said Cleo Corbett, long-range planner.

The cost for the parks and development cost charges plan is $50,000.

A draft parks plan must also be done by November, and staff insists that doesn’t permit sufficient time to also investigate indoor recreation.

“Recreation simply exceeds your scope and time,” said Kim Flick, planning and building services director, adding that a recreation review will have to involve Coldstream and Areas B and C as funding partners.

Mayor Rob Sawatzky is confident the master parks plan will identify community interests.

“I would like to see a well-informed plan that guides us when we move ahead in the immediate and long-term future,” he said.

Through an agreement with other local jurisdictions, Vernon became responsible for its local parks in January.

“Vernon now has the opportunity to develop a vision for parks that is consistent with the official community plan, neighbourhood plans and council’s priorities,” said Corbett in a report.

“A parks master plan would allow the city to effectively and responsibly manage the parks system, to strategically serve the community and be financially sustainable.”

 

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