BC Parks is getting an extra $3 million for this year's capital budget, a 27 per cent increase over last year. Overall, $13.98 million is funding projects directed at attracting young families, offering new recreation opportunities, improving accessibility and increasing attendance.
The 2012-13 capital budget encompasses 120 projects in 89 parks throughout the province. New projects focus on:
- Renovating facilities in day-use areas and campgrounds, and improving accessibility.
- Continuing to upgrade water systems to meet potable water standards.
- Delivering multi-year capital investments in parks with either high revenue and attendance, or significant cultural values.
A number of the projects are still in the process of being tendered, but the breakdown by region is proposed as follows:
- Interior (Kootenay, Okanagan, Cariboo, Thompson): $6.71 million.
- North (Skeena, Peace, Omineca): $2.66 million.
- West Coast (Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii): $2.23 million.
- South Coast (Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast): $2.38 million.
BC Parks may use management plans, facility assessments, regional tourism trends, park satisfaction surveys and discussions with staff, park facility operators and First Nations to determine where investments are needed.
In the past five years, BC Parks has invested approximately $53 million in facilities in the province.
Environment Minister Terry Lake -
"While almost 20 million people visit BC Parks every year, we want to encourage even more people to get out and enjoy B.C.'s spectacular parks. One way of doing that is to invest more money in infrastructure. Parks not only contribute to a healthy lifestyle and protect our environment, they are important to our economy. These improvements will keep the regular visitors coming back and encourage other, more diverse groups to visit in the future."
Jody Young, industry and community services manager, Tourism Vancouver Island -
"We're thrilled to hear that BC Parks is receiving additional funding this year. Our visitors love the scenic beauty that the Vancouver Island region offers and injecting additional funding into our parks provincewide will serve to increase the visitor experience."
BC Parks: www.bcparks.ca
Discover Camping: www.discovercamping.ca
BC Parks Volunteers: www.bcparksvolunteers.ca
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Environment
Improvements in BC Parks provincewide
Below are some examples of what BC Parks has proposed for its capital budget program for 2012-13:
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park - $600,000. Located near Parksville on Vancouver Island, Rathtrevor is one of BC Parks' most popular provincial parks. This year's funding is being used for reconstruction of the campground and improvements to the day-use areas - picnic shelters and tables.
Cultus Lake Provincial Park - $415,000. Funding is being used for planning for campground expansion, installing new accessible picnic tables and completing renovations to toilet and shower buildings. Interior alterations and upgrades are being made to fixtures and equipment, including accessible showers in some buildings, reflecting current green technology.
Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park - $500,000. The Liard River Hot Springs project includes a new deck and new change houses built around the pool in a park that continues to attract visitors throughout the year. There will also be improved accessibility for visitors with mobility challenges.
Kikomun Creek Provincial Park - $53,600. Located on Lake Koocanusa in the Kootenays, this park has a new campground with 37 campsites (11 with electricity), two cabins and a shower building. New accessible picnic tables have been installed and new signage has been posted. Funding this year will complete the improvements with the construction of a connecting trail system to enhance the recreational activities.
Kettle River Provincial Park - $525,000. Located near Osoyoos, one of Canada's most historic and scenic railway routes runs through this park - Kettle Valley Railway. This year the focus is on an expansion of the campground. This includes 28 new campsites, new picnic tables, new flush toilets (two converted from pit toilets) and more trails linked to existing campground loops. The existing reservoir will also be replaced with a new reservoir with increased capacity.
Garibaldi Provincial Park - $600,000. Near Whistler, a new 30-site backcountry campground, toilets and picnic shelter is being constructed at popular Elfin Lakes. The project also includes improvements to the access road and upgrading of ranger stations.
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park - $200,000. Located on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, the park (Juan de Fuca Marine Trail) is known for its remarkable hiking trails. This year's funding has been allocated to upgrading several sections of trail.
Herald Provincial Park - $265,000. Near Salmon Arm on Shuswap Lake, Herald Park is having its shower building renovated and new picnic tables installed in the campground and day-use areas.
Lakelse Lake Provincial Park - $335,000. Lakelse Lake is located near Terrace in the Skeena region. Funding is being allocated to improve the day-use change house and the group site toilet and shower building. The park is also getting new picnic tables, a new multi-toilet building and improvements are being made to the sani-station.
Martha Creek Provincial Park - $433,133. Located in the Kootenay region near Revelstoke, this popular park is having its campground reconstructed including the addition of new lakeshore campsites and supporting infrastructure such as picnic tables.
Ministry of Environment