The Cariboo Regional District doesn’t currently have a Regional Trail and Parks Service, like surrounding Regional Districts.
“That’s been a gap that I think the Regional District has been looking towards playing a more prominent role in trying to help some of these long regional trails become established,” said CRD Manager of Community Services Darron Campbell.
Campbell pitched Trails and Parks services for the CRD and delivered a presentation to the Williams Lake Committee of the Whole Tuesday evening.
Campbell’s report says delivery of a new trails and parks service will require a new staff position, and the estimated full cost for this would be $100,000, including wages, travel, technology, and basic operating budget.
There are a number of goals outlined in the report, with a budget total of $188,000, and a recommendation that the 2022 budget for the new trails and parks service be established at $200,000 people.
Williams Lake’s Councillors had some concerns over the project.
“When you talk about regional opportunities, I support the concept,” said Councillor Scott Nelson, “but I want to make sure Williams Lake is not lost in the big picture of things because we’ve been very aggressive to try and get our things done now.”
Councillor Jason Ryll asked who would maintain the trails, to which Community Services Manager Campbell said it would probably be a mix.
“Where we can, it gives us the ability to partner with other groups where we could be involved in a trail, either in its development or improvement not to take on that liability,” Campbell explains, “basically we’d have a budget to be at the table, but we may not own or operate the asset at the end of the day. But there may be opportunities where no one is stepping forward.”
Councillor Sheila Boehm said the City of Williams Lake would like a say in where things go.
“We’ve already approached the [Central Cariboo] Joint Committee about things in the city, and it wasn’t approved,” Boehm said. “It’s frustrating to have this presentation following our request from Council to look at ones within the city.”
“It’s the sharing of the cost right now,” said Mayor Walt Cobb, “I don’t know how that’s going to work for the trails that overlap.”
According to Campbell’s report, the CRD has received responses from Electoral Areas G, H, and L supporting service establishment, as well as a response from the District of 100 Mile House resolving to not be a participating area of the regional service. Campbell says part of the reason for 100 Mile House’s decision was concern around taking over a provincial mandate.