A map of park areas in the CVRD. file screenshot, CVRD website

A map of park areas in the CVRD. file screenshot, CVRD website

Cumberland is fine with regional parks plan idea

Service not intended to affect current municipal park systems

Cumberland council is willing to be part of a regional parks system, even though the village already runs several of its own.

“The goal is not to take over anybody’s current park service or park operation,” said Coun. Jesse Ketler, who also chairs the Comox Valley Regional District board. “It would only be new acquisitions.”

At the July 11 meeting, Kevin McPhedran, the village’s parks and recreation who is currently filling in as deputy chief administrative officer, outlined the plans the CVRD has for its parks bylaw. This includes seeking consent from municipal partners like Cumberland.

A factor in adding more regional parks, he said, is because all of the parks in the Comox Valley are seeing growth pressures. An original regional service was set up in 1971 but was defunded in 1998. It has been dormant since that time. The CVRD did bring the possibility of a new service last year.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland commits staff to regional park study

One of the issues surrounds voting structure for a regional parks board, with some pushing for a super majority threshold and veto ability. Another question is the funding model. To start, the requisition amount for the region would be $275,000, with Cumberland’s share estimated in the $14,000 to 15,000 range. McPhedran also pointed the process will look at other revenue sources such as grants or partnerships.

There is a bit of resistance in Cumberland, as Coun. Gwyn Sproule noted the village has its own parks system.

“I do feel quite possessive about Cumberland’s parks,” she said.

Mayor Leslie Baird also highlighted the need for the region to consider greenways between park areas throughout the area.

“I hope that they really look at the connections we want to make,” she said.

Council passed a motion to provide consent for the regional district to adopt its bylaw to establish a regional parks and trail service.

The CVRD board, itself, passed the first three readings of its bylaw at the June 28 meeting, then sent the bylaw out for referral to local government partners and the three electoral area directors.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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