The city’s Chadburn Lake Park Management Plan is in place after a unanimous vote by city council Monday evening to adopt the document.
Mike Ellis is the city’s acting manager of planning and sustainability.
He brought forward the recommendation that council adopt the plan last week after council had postponed a decision last October.
It had done so to seek more input from the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
The plan that was adopted included a few changes to the proposal that came forward in October 2016.
The plan outlines 26 initiatives for the short-term (in the next two years), medium-term (two to five years), and long-term (five to 10 years).
The initiatives range from a dog owner education program, to working with the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and KDFN to identify and inventory significant cultural sites, traditional sites and stories within the park, to the development of an accessible trail to Hidden Lake #1.
The initiatives fall under five goals:
• promoting environmental health;
• promoting outdoor recreation;
• supporting community stewardship, education and partnerships;
• improving accountability, planning and management; and
• protecting and promoting cultural and heritage values.
As Ellis stated in his report to council: “New highlight boxes in the plan draw attention to three specific issues that KDFN and city staff agree should ideally be studied in further detail, which would lead to future plan updates.
“These three topics include identification of KDFN land parcels that may be impacted by the park (page 6), ecosystem mapping for the park and the city as a whole (page 9), and heritage management, particularly the topic of traditional knowledge (page 11).
“This planning process did not have the budget or timeframe to allow for extensive additional data collection; instead plan preparation relied on the best-available knowledge and reports at the time, which was extensive. It is normal for plans to be updated when new data becomes available.”
Council was unanimous in its decision to adopt the plan through councillors.
However, councillors Samson Hartland (who attended the meeting by conference call) and Rob Fendrick, highlighted concerns about development pressures that could come in future years in the 7,550-hectare park space.
“This one sort of weighed on me a bit,” Hartland said.
He then questioned why the city is moving forward with the park plan before beginning the upcoming review of the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP).
Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, explained the Chadburn Lake Management Plan comes out of the city’s current OCP adopted in 2010.
It identified five regional parks, including Chadburn Lake.
“So we’re implementing that strategy,” Gau said.
Chadbrun Lake is the first of the regional parks identified in the 2010 OCP to have a plan proposed, he noted.
The other park spaces would include the McIntyre Creek Park at 3,620 ha, Wolf Creek Park at 1,100 ha, McLean Lake Park at 195 ha and Paddy’s Pond/Ice Lake Park at 190 ha.
Gau noted the next OCP review isn’t slated to get underway until later this year, and will continue through much of 2018.
With his question answered, Hartland said he would support the plan, knowing it can be modified over time.
Fendrick, meanwhile, recognized that it’s easy to sit in council chambers and set aside park space now for the future of the city.
However, that action could mean pressure years down the road, when the city is looking for space for development, he added.
At the same time though, Fendrick said, he “rejoices” in the fact there is a regional park available for everybody’s use, and that the plan developed is a good one for the city.
With that, he joined the rest of council in voting in favour.
Council heard from longtime local residents Peter Long and Keith Lay on the plan at its June 19 meeting.
Long called for the city to improve trail markings around town in places like the Chadburn Lake area.
He pointed to the use of coloured discs along walking trails in Europe as opposed to the signs set up at the starting point of local trails.
“I like the idea of being able to follow trails,” he said, requesting that the city fix up trails in the Chadburn Lake area.
He also noted he’d like to see greater representation of the walking community on the city’s trails and greenways committee.
Meanwhile, Lay suggested the city host an annual meeting to provide an update on the implementation of the park management plan.