We are purchasing a property (1031 Highway 21; Lot 22; 18.8 acres) to make it into a public park with safe parking, toilets and easy river access. Once developed, it will be gifted to the Regional District of Central Kootenay. The total cost of buying this property is $237,000 plus fees. We have raised $150,000 so far, and we need your help now to meet our goal by October 15, 2018 to complete this purchase.
To make a tax-deductible donation online, please visit https://www.crestonvalleytrails.ca/make-a-donation-to-tfcvs/ and indicate your donation is for Riverside Park. Please note that for large donations, a mailed in cheque or money order is preferred as we have to pay a service fee for online donations. The following form can be used when mailing in a donation: Riverside park donation form. For donations over $500, plaques will be created on a donor wall at the park.
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Be part of building a legacy for future generations and gaining safe access to our river!
Q: Why was this parcel of land chosen for purchase?
A: For many years, Creston Valley residents and visitors have faced difficulty accessing Goat River near town for recreational purposes. Although the river itself (up to high water mark) is public land, land access to the riverside is often not legally available to the public due to adjacent private landowners. Therefore, people are not able to enjoy many of the great places along the Goat River. “The Point,” (at the end of Goat Canyon Road) is an example where the public no longer has legal access to a longtime and remarkable swimming hole.
This parcel of land on Highway 21 became available for purchase, and generous donors in our community came forward immediately with funds to make its purchase possible. This lot is in a location that is already heavily used by the community (just downstream of the Highway 21 Goat River bridge). The ongoing problem with this location has been the safety issue regarding parking alongside the highway. Neither the Regional District nor the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has been unable to resolve the parking issue (MOTI put up “no parking” signs which are often ignored). Many people, including families with small children, have been alarmed by the unsafe conditions that currently exist: traffic driving at 80 km/h in both directions is passing vehicles parked on both sides of the highway near the narrow bridge, and pedestrians are forced into a dangerous situation alongside it all.
This new park will feature a parking lot located a safe distance from the highway. Purchase of this land will also allow for critical infrastructure–such as toilets, picnic tables and garbage cans–to be installed and maintained regularly. This riverside property is also special in that it does not involve clambering down a steep canyon trail, and it has shallow waters suitable for children.
Q: Why is the Trails Society planning to gift the purchased land to the Regional District?
A: Trails for Creston Valley Society has identified a need for more community parks in our area. The Regional District has no existing budget for land acquisition for parks (RDCK budgets come primarily from property taxes, and the RD tries to keep those taxes affordable for all residents). TCVS became aware of a rare opportunity to purchase a riverfront property that could be made easily accessible to the public. However, TCVS does not have the dedicated annual funding required to cover regular maintenance costs; this is more appropriately done by the Regional District.
TCVS wants to see this land protected in perpetuity as part of our public park inventory. We plan to gift it to the RDCK after all site developments have been completed, and only after the RDCK has approved that it will become a Regional Park. Under this designation, property taxes on the lot will be waived. Park operating costs and insurance will be covered through taxes collected by the RDCK, rather than having a situation where its operating budget relies upon annual fundraising by a non-profit organization. The land will become public property, giving safe public access to Goat River in perpetuity.
Q: How was the September 28 fundraising deadline set?
A: This date is a fundraising goal set by our project committee and is not an official purchase deadline. The sale closing date is October 15, 2018.
Q: What happens if the purchase price funds aren’t raised in time?
A: The land purchase deal will go through, as there is no financing clause. Trails for Creston Valley Society has secured (if needed) an interest-free loan in order to ensure that this purchase goes through successfully. An anonymous member of TCVS has generously agreed to hold the balance in the event that the full purchase price has not been fundraised by the official closing date. Significant donations are continuing to come in, and we are very grateful for the community’s generosity and the momentum that is building which will ensure that we meet our ongoing fundraising goals.
Q: What about Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) rules?
A: TCVS has received written confirmation from the Agricultural Land Commission that this property can be used as a park. There is no conflict with ALR restrictions as there are no large buildings being built on the property, only washrooms.
Q: Is this project a good use of TCVS funds?
A: Monies being put toward this land purchase are not “Trails Society” dollars per se, as TCVS does not have any large sums of money in the bank that are being allocated to this project at the expense of other projects. All monies that are coming in for this fundraising effort are being voluntarily donated by members of the public who feel that this project is very important to them and their families. Generations of kids have grown up in Creston without the benefit of an official riverside park to recreate in. On the contrary, in recent years we have even lost other important community swimming holes to private purchasers who have proceeded to gate off and prohibit public access. This land acquisition is in response to the highly recognized need for a safe waterfront park for our community to enjoy.
Q: Why doesn’t the Town of Creston, or the Regional District of Central Kootenay, pay for the purchase of this lot?
A: Neither the RDCK nor the Town of Creston has budget monies available to purchase park lands. This land parcel is outside of Town of Creston boundaries and jurisdiction, so the Town will be less involved in this project than the RDCK. However, it is certain that many town residents will use this park, so it is hoped that the Town will also be able to financially contribute in some way as well.
RDCK and TOC funds mostly come from taxpayers’ pockets, so the difference in the case of this land purchase is that only those members of the public who choose to donate to this worthy project are doing so. The purchase price will not be paid for by a property tax increase that is imposed on all regional landowners.
In addition, any land purchases that the RDCK does decide to make are subject to several prior years of consultation, planning and bureaucracy. In this case, timing was considered to be of the essence for this land purchase opportunity, and the TCVS members who are dedicating their time to leading this project felt the need to act quickly on this rare opportunity to acquire land for a public park alongside Goat River.
TCVS is grateful to Director Larry Binks of RDCK Area ‘C’ and Director Tanya Wall of Area ‘B’, both of whom on behalf of the RDCK have committed to contributing the sum of $5000 each for this project, primarily to help cover park maintenance costs.
Q: Are donations to help fund this land purchase tax-deductible?
A: Yes, all donations over $10 will generate a charitable donation receipt. TCVS is a registered Canadian charity and your donation will be tax deductible. For large donations, please consider making a donation by cheque or money order, in order to help avoid the service fees levied by online payment services. Please indicate with your donation that it is for the new Riverside Park. All large donations will be recognized on a wall of plaques of donor names at the park.
Q: How else can I help with this project or other TCVS projects?
A: The Board of Directors meets monthly (except July, August and December) on the second Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m. at the Creston Chamber of Commerce meeting room. All meetings are open to the public. We are always looking for keen volunteers to help us improve outdoor recreation opportunities in our beautiful valley.
If you are not a member, please consider supporting TCVS by purchasing a lifetime membership ($5 for students/seniors, $10/adult, or $20/family). Membership forms can be found at https://www.crestonvalleytrails.ca/join-us/. Once you are a member, you will receive regular email updates about our ongoing projects.
More information about other projects can be found at https://www.crestonvalleytrails.ca/projects.