Capital Regional District Regional Parks Strategic Plan Approved
By Capital Regional District
VICTORIA – The Capital Regional District Board has approved the new 2012-2021 Regional Parks Strategic Plan which sets the direction for regional parks and trails over the next decade. It also reviewed a complementary Financial Program, which provides the fiscal roadmap to implement the strategic priorities identified in the plan.
“This Strategic Plan provides the long term vision and the short-term priorities for regional parks and trails spanning southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands,” said CRD Board Chair Geoff Young. “The plan recognizes the expectation for significant population growth in the region over the next ten to thirty years. These green spaces will continue to provide immeasurable benefits that add to the region’s quality of life, to the long-term health of the local environment and of the people who live here.”
“A major part of the development process in preparing the Strategic Plan was the involvement of a volunteer Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) who spoke to residents throughout the region,” said CRD Regional Parks Committee Chair Susan Brice. “The plan reflects what was heard from the community, interest groups and other park agencies and from relevant technical information. We thank everyone who participated in shaping the Regional Parks Strategic Plan. Together we are planning today to protect these vital natural areas while providing compatible recreation opportunities.”
The highlights of the 2012-2021 Regional Parks Strategic Plan are:
Confirmation that CRD Regional Parks is on the right track and that nature protection is its top priority.
Conserving biodiversity, connecting natural areas, providing compatible recreation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, and responding to changing demographics are the centrepieces of the draft Plan.
Environmental interpretation and communication are essential functions of Regional Parks.
An expanded parks and trails system, particularly in areas west of the Sooke River. The plan also advocates for connections between the natural area of the region and to trails systems in other regional districts.
That the CRD maintain the direction that off-road motorized use is not compatible with the vision and mission of regional parks and trails.
The highlights of the 2012-2016 Financial Program to Implement the Regional Parks Strategic Plan are:
The Financial Program provides guiding principles, an overview of the 2012 Regional Parks Budget, the capital budget and potential budget requests that result from implementation of the first five years of the Regional Parks Strategic Plan.
The primary direction for Regional Parks over the next five years will be to strengthen the management of existing regional parks and trails while opening new parks and trails as funding permits.
The Financial Program will be used to guide the preparation of the Regional Parks’ budget.
The 2012-2016 Capital Infrastructure Plan identifies new capital projects with an estimated cost of $21 million.
The major infrastructure projects are the E&N Humpback Connector Rail Trail, opening part of the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt and Sooke Hills Wilderness regional park reserves, opening the Trans Canada Trail and Matthews Point regional park reserves and upgrading existing infrastructure at Thetis Lake and Elk/Beaver Lake regional parks.