November 11, 2014 - 2:36 PM
VERNON - Vernon city council had its first look at the first ever Draft Parks Master Plan at their meeting on Monday.
The City took over management of the parks in the city from the North Okanagan Regional District about ten months ago and the first order of business was the development of a Parks Master Plan.
The opinions of over 2,500 residents were already gathered as the document was put together.
Part of the process was a questionnaire filled out by about 1,100 people. It was used to find out how satisfied residents are with the current system of parks and trails, how they use them and to get their opinions about how to make improvements and additions. The survey also asked how the park system should be paid for.
The need for more, expanded, connected and safe trails and pathways were identified as priorities, as were more lake and beach access points.
The report found Vernon has a health supply of parkland, 5.5 hectares for every 1000 people which is more than the Canadian benchmark of 4 ha. The population of the city is expected to be about 39,000 in 2015.
Parks planner Kendra Kryszak told council the public strongly supported the continued development of Polson Park. The parks plan suggest an investment of $3-million over the next ten years.
Overall, it will cost about $12-million to implement the land acquisition and improvements the parks plan recommends over the next ten years, Krysak says.
About $5.4 million will come from property taxpayers.
The rest from new parks fees charged to commercial and industrial developers, partnerships with the Vernon School District, grants from other levels of government, sponsorships and advertising opportunities, donations from the community, and the sale of surplus land the city owns.
Coun. Brian Spiers predicted the commercial and industrial development community wouldn’t be too happy with the new parks development cost charges proposed in the plan.
“That is going to have a heck of a lot of resistance something that isn’t in most plans for parks in this province,” he said.
Kryszak said it was true parks charges weren’t usually charged on commercial and industrial development but pointed out it is becoming more and more popular.
The councillors voted unanimously to take the next step towards approving the plan, more public consultation.
The City has posted to the Parks Master Plan draft on its website.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014