Mount Benson Regional Park. (LANA JOHNSON photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo creating strategic plan for parks and trails

RDN manages more than 200 community and regional parks

The Regional District of Nanaimo will start working on a strategic plan around its parks and trails.

Last month, the RDN board approved terms of reference for a new parks and trails strategic plan, to be completed by fall 2020.

The RDN noted in a press release that it manages more than 200 community parks, 12 regional parks and more than 85 kilometres of trails. The parks and trails are “important and cherished assets for our residents,” the release noted.

According to terms of reference, the strategic plan process will include examination and evaluation of parks services, creation of an implementation plan, clarification of goals and action items, development of a service model, and emphasis on financial sustainability. The RDN release noted that services are currently spread between regional parks and electoral area parks, and a strategic plan would “consider regional and community parks and trails as one system, and will seek to maintain connectivity between parkland and recreational amenities.”

The process will involve consultation and engagement with the public, stakeholders, partners and other government agencies, the RDN notes.

“The social well-being of our residents is a priority for our current board of directors, and this plan will help us evaluate the way ahead for parks and trails in the region,” said RDN chairman Ian Thorpe in the release. “Prioritizing sustainable practices for the management, acquisition, and servicing of our parks and trails will help to enact the RDN’s goal of making the region a safe and vibrant place for all.”

The RDN anticipates the strategic plan process taking 12-14 months, with a maximum budget of $85,000 over 2019 and 2020. Nanaimo directors Erin Hemmens and Ben Geselbracht and Area A (Cassidy, Cedar, Yellowpoint, South Wellington) director Keith Wilson were recommended for appointment to the parks and trails strategic plan advisory sub-committee, as was Area G (French Creek, Dashwood, Englishman River) director Clarke Gourlay.

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