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RDN committee assessing options for wildfire risk reduction at Gabriola park

RDN electoral area services committee seeks report for 707 Community Park fuel management
Photos of 707 Community Park on Gabriola Island, taken from the Regional District of Nanaimo’s 707 Community Park Management Plan 2010-2020. (RDN images)

A Regional District of Nanaimo committee seeks more options on wildfire risk mitigation for a Gabriola Island park.

RDN’s electoral area services committee voted to request a staff report at its Thursday, Jan. 12 meeting, on a fuel management prescription for 707 Community Park, which is deemed a high risk for fire due to combustible vegetation and closeness to residences.

A staff report from September recommended a three-phase plan, featuring manual and mechanical work at a estimated cost of over $1.4 million. A new report is sought with options “more reflective of the ecological goals of a park,” methods that don’t include mechanical devices and utilizing Gabriola Island area parks fund money, as opposed to grants.

Vanessa Craig, Gabriola Island director, said her area’s parks and open space advisory committee wasn’t opposed to a treatment for the park in general, as it recognizes the risk.

“There’s different objectives, I think, when you’re managing a park than managing for fuel or a developed forest, so we would like to explore and get more information about opportunities for not following the prescription exactly, but we recognize that it might actually influence the types of grants we could get … if we implement it partially or just in specific areas, how does that affect our ability to get grants and if we do it through community works funding does that give us more flexibility and opportunities that way, so we just want to explore it,” said Craig.

The recommendation will now go before the board at a future meeting.

RELATED: Report identifies wildfire risks in RDN area

READ ALSO: RDN ponders homeless camp moratorium for 707 Park

READ ALSO: Gabriola Island’s 707 Community Park expands

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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