By Aaron Orlando, Revelstoke City Councillor
Hello again Revelstoke Review readers! Thanks to the Review for doing this series featuring voices from city council.
As the chairperson of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee, I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on what’s going on at the parks committee. Between the budget and the parks master plan review, we’ve had to call extra committee meetings to get through all the business on the table. Here are some highlights in point form:
– The Parks, Recreation and Culture department is about halfway through its current, multi-year Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan, the direction-setting document for the department. We recently reviewed its 54 recommendations and set new goals. In other words, we’re prioritizing and executing the existing plan.
– Extending the trail network around Williamson’s Lake to improve the experience and explore connections to Revelstoke Mountain Resort is in the existing plan, and the committee has identified it as a priority we’d like to move forward with. In addition, we have also identified upgrades to Williamson’s Lake recreation facility as a priority, and we hope to explore planning for potential upgrades there.
– The idea for a trails master plan has been outlined in planning documents for many years, and we want to get going with this project. Basically, it means planning out where and when a variety of interconnected trails interlinking the city will go. Most of us appreciate the need to reduce our carbon footprint; an improved transportation/recreation trail network is part of a more pedestrian and cycling friendly city. I’m hoping we can get great public engagement on this process.
– Expect to hear more in the coming months about long-term planning for the Revelstoke Forum. You may be aware that $7 million was budgeted for the roof replacement in coming years. For me, I think of that amount as an accounting placeholder — we know we need to make a decision, and it’s likely going to be expensive. Working with the city’s Development Services department, the plan is to apply contemporary asset management practices to the issue, and arrive at a balanced decision.
– The new washroom in Kovach Park is slated for construction this summer, part of the ongoing revitalization of that park which is planned to include new children’s playground equipment, a new skatepark, seniors exercise equipment and some other landscaping work.
– Revelstoke Splash Park proponents appeared as a delegation to the committee recently, and city staff are now working with the group on their idea to replace the pool in Farwell Park with an above-ground splash park. The parks director, Laurie Donato, is working with the proponents on a more formal report, which is expected soon. It’s great to see enthusiastic community members getting behind new initiatives like this, including the willingness to tackle fundraising. Let’s support them.
– Parks staff is working through plans for the mountain bike pump track in Centennial Park and the plan is to work with the proponent group to complete it this construction season, if all goes according to plan.
– The Revelstoke Golf Club task force is not within the parks department, but I’ll speak to it as the council representative to the task force, and as the council representative to the Revelstoke Golf Club committee. The task force, chaired by Paul Norrie, has met twice and is working through financial, legal and engineering reports as baseline research into the situation. Our goal is to develop a long-term plan for the facility within a year. At the same time, a private group interested in leasing and operating the course has approached the city, so the committee has asked city staff to explore that option concurrently. I’ve also participated in several Revelstoke Golf Club board meetings.
In my view, there is a lot of opportunity to improve the facility for local and visiting golfers. Over nine decades, countless club volunteers have put even more countless hours into providing this recreation facility at a historically very low cost to the city, and we should thank them. Unfortunately, problems such as changes in golfing trends and an extremely old building that was never built for its current purpose are really catching up with us now. At the same time, we are marketing this community as a destination resort, and an improved golf offering and marketing can compliment that effort.
– The dogs have been marking designated off-leash areas in the city for years, but many humans still don’t know where they are. So, we are proposing better signage and some new dog waste bag stations.
These are just a few of the many projects we have on the go. Many of these items are just starting their way through the process, meaning there will be opportunities for input, engagement and council decisions. If you would like to talk to me about anything related to my role as city councillor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow my Facebook page at Aaron Orlando, Revelstoke City Councillor. Thanks! Aaron Orlando.