December 03, 2012 - 6:55 AM
Local politicians aren't biting on a 166-acre park proposal brought forth by a local Vernon man.
The proposal has been on the minds of Vernon city councillors for several weeks now after a presentation made by Randy Schellenberg, a local business owner, urging Vernon to buy the property which recently went up for sale. Purchasing the land and preserving it as a park would ensure the remaining acres of the historic BX Ranchlands are not subdivided.
Schellenberg described seeing the For Sale sign while bicycling to work one morning. For him, the opportunity was obvious.
In his presentation to council three weeks ago, Schellenberg pointed out that the park would offer a solution to the deficiency of parkland noted in the 2004 Greater Vernon Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The plan indicated a dire need to acquire 40 hectares of land for a new destination park.
"Here is a golden opportunity to establish just such a park," Schellenberg told councillors.
But there was little discussion from council after Schellenberg's presentation. The city said they'd think about it and talk more at the next council meeting.
That meeting was Monday. Again, there was little buzz generated about the potential park. Since the land is located in the Greater Vernon area, councillors decided the purchase should be left in the hands of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC).
Schellenberg has noted that the park (which is next to the current city boundary and just three kms from downtown) would be of benefit to both residents of Vernon and Greater Vernon, offering a green space open to all.
If purchased by either the City of Vernon or the North Okanagan Regional District, the $3.2 million parcel of land would present various all-season recreational uses, said Schellenberg. It would also link the Mutrie Road dog park with the current BX Ranch Park.
"If we act now," he said, "Our grandchildren will thank us."
The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, which met Wednesday, has said a decision on the park will have to wait until after the Memorandum of Understanding for Greater Vernon parks, Recreation and Culture has been signed. Tannis Nelson, the Community Development Coordinator for the Regional District of the North Okanagan says the Greater Vernon Parks and Recreation Master Plan may be revised soon, and that it makes sense to wait until then to move forward on land acquisition.
The political loops may mean the land is snatched up by a third party and lost to dog walkers, hikers, and nature lovers forever. Nelson says the new year is when more information will be available on the Regional District's plans.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012