A multi-use trail system/park planned for an area near Falkland is being viewed as a precedent-setting project.
During a report to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board at its May 18 meeting, operations manager Darcy Mooney reported B.C.’s Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) recently gave its approval to what he called “our biggest parks-related project in the area for 2023,” adding it’s what “we’ve been waiting for to move the project forward.”
“The ALC is looking at it as a precedent-setting project in the province,” Mooney told the board. “The ability to take conflicting trail users, from dirt bikers to equestrian to mountain bikers to hikers and try and separate them out, give them trails for their exclusive use, is going to be a monumental task and the ALC is looking to this project as… setting the bar on moving these things forward.”
Mooney was referring to the Glenemma Recreation Site Trailhead Project, something that has been in progress for 12 years.
In a report to the board, CSRD community services team leader Ryan Nitchie explained that in 2016, an extensive public consultation process was initiated. Facilitated by the Shuswap Trail Alliance, several meetings were held in Falkland with representation from “motorized, non-motorized, equestrian, agricultural, range licensees, Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) and the general public,” and it was determined a management plan for the Glenemma Recreation Site would accommodate specific uses in specific areas.
Following completion of a management plan, an application was submitted to RSTBC to authorize the CSRD to manage the recreation area. During the referral process, it was learned a small portion of the management area was within the Agricultural Land Reserve, prompting an application process to the ALC. The CSRD met with ALC representatives in 2021, a positive decision was received from the ALC in late 2022, and authorization in early 2023.
As part of his May 18 presentation, Mooney explained the cost of the project had gone up, due in part to conditions set by the ALC.
“So we are approximately $80,000 short on the budget,” said Mooney, noting $245,000 of the budget, anticipated to come in around $400,000, is from the Electoral Area D Community Works Fund, with another $25,000 from grant money. The board was asked to support allocating $60,000, and reallocating $20,000 originally intended for the Silver Creek Community Park in the Area D capital reserve fund to the Glenemma recreation site project.
Area D director Dean Trumbley asked for the board’s support, noting the project would “clean up a lot of contention” among users of the popular park area.
The board voted unanimously in support.
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