Quesnel City Council is interested in a CRD proposal for a new Regional Trails and Parks function, but not under the current operating model.
Mayor Bob Simpson says as it stands the proposal calls for a centralized approach effectively creating a tax function for all 12 electoral areas in the Cariboo Regional District and the four municipalities.
It would involve the hiring of a staff person to advance a number of specific projects in the short term, and provide recommendations regarding longer term goals.
Simpson says this doesn’t work for Quesnel.
He uses the Chilcotin area, which is not as far ahead on trail development, as an example.
“So if the Cariboo Regional District does develop a trail function, a taxation function, and then puts a central staff in there. That central staff person could spend all of their time in the Chilcotin, so Council is rightly saying why would Quesnel residents be contributing to that ?”
Simpson says Quesnel Council would prefer a sub regional approach along the lines of what they do for recreation.
He says it would be a Cariboo Regional District wide taxation function, but it would be deployed at the sub regional level.
“It’s much better to keep that uniqueness of the sub regions, and keep the nature of the relationships that you need in order to advance these trail networks. They’re not easy to get approvals for, they’re not easy to get the kinds of arrangements you need to both design and build the trail systems, but then also to maintain them. So the intimacy of the relationships, of the knowledge of the trail systems, is really at that sub regional level.”
Simpson says under a sub regional approach the north, central and south Cariboo could focus on their own priorities.
He says the central function could then look at connecting the different trail networks to each other.
“The value added that the Regional District could really bring to the trail network throughout the Cariboo Regional District is the interconnecting trails. If we can connect those networks to each other with these interconnector trails, you then begin to develop something that is more of a destination tourism opportunity where tourism operators could help move people from trail network to trail network.”
Some on Quesnel City Council also expressed concerns about being isolated in a centralized model, especially if it was the only municipality taking part.
100 Mile House has already said no, while Williams Lake is still considering the request.
It is on the agenda for the Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled for October 26th.