If you are here on this page you already know the value of outdoor recreation, especially for health and well-being, stewardship of wild and nature spaces, sustaining our population and supporting our economy. However, you may not know why there is a lack of outdoor recreation in this area. RDCK has recently mailed out a survey to gauge the area’s interest in regional parks and trails, to help guide their decision making process.

Outdoor recreation has a valued place in our community and yet RDCK Areas A, B, and C do not have equitable representation of trails, parks and lake/river public access compared to the other side of the Kootenay Lake and compared to other BC communities. The Town of Creston has most recently been playing catch-up to other towns and has been making strides in this direction.

Why is that we lack in outdoor recreation? Can the RDCK Recreation Master Plan help improve the poor representation of parks, trails and public access to lakes and rivers? If so, how?

The gist of the situation is that Areas A, B, and C have not fulfilled their land use bylaw obligations by not paying sufficient monies into parks and recreation budget line items. This budget helps to pay RDCK planners’ staff time (see bylaw links following this article).  Since we don’t pay toward RDCK planner staff time we can’t compete for staff time like other Central Kootenay communities do, who are busy adding parks and trails to their inventory. It is worth noting here that outdoor recreation comes at a fraction of the cost of indoor recreation.

So what does not having money in a line item mean for us? Well, when a stewardship group such as TCVS wants to make improvements to a proposed site (i.e. Old Kootenay River Ferry Landing) with awarded grant money and corporate donations, they must first have RDCK staff involved in the setting up of Licenses To Occupy and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the other parties involved, such as Ministry of Highways, Ministry of Forests, or local Dyking Districts. Until a License of Occupation or MOU is finalized no improvements can legally take place. When we don’t pay into the RDCK planner time we cannot receive their help. This is why so many projects have been put on hold here, including the making of improvements to select public lake access sites.

There are many different methods of acquiring outdoor recreation opportunities besides purchasing land. Most people are not aware that recreation sites can be acquired and made available to the public through estate donations, leases, trades, licenses of occupation, MOUs, easements, transfers from government ministries, and new subdivision requirements (for park space). Most outdoor recreation development is made possible through grants available.  Most site operation is done through stewardship groups who manage sites on small budgets because they contract out instead of employ.

So, it appears that the way to rectify this situation of lack of parks, trails and water access is for us to let the RDCK know how important outdoor recreation is to us. The RDCK can then allocate money toward Parks and Recreation to support our community in reviving our lost parks and trails, adding new trails, and improving lake and river access.


Information Links

Regional Parks Strategy Bylaw 2044

Area A Land Use Bylaws

Area B Land Use Bylaws

Area C Land Use Bylaws