Smithers town council has decided to invest in a new parks and recreation master plan and to coordinate with the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako on theirs.
At the July 12 regular council meeting, councillors voted to direct staff to begin preparing the Town’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan 2022 and allocate $100,000 from the Northern Capital and Planning Grant to pay for the cost over the next two years.
According to a report to council from director of finance William Wallace, the most recent Recreation & Culture Master Plan was submitted to the Town in 1997.
“Since that time many of the identified action items have been achieved while others are no longer as relevant,” he wrote. “An updated Parks & Recreation Master Plan is critical to help guide its parks, trails and recreation decisions. These decisions involve service levels and inform asset management plans on which existing parks, trails and facilities are to be renewed/ replaced, and which “new” parks, trails and facilities will be supported. Both service level decisions and asset management priorities have significant impacts on operating and capital budgets as well as on major grant applications submitted to senior governments.”
He also said a new plan will optimize service levels, parks, trails and facilities asset management decisions adding it is vital to work with the RDBN for financial purposes.
All of the council was in favour to start the plan.
Councillor Frank Wray pointed out that working with the RDBN makes sense because people don’t just recreate in the town or just in the rural area, there is a lot of cross-over.
Councillor Lorne Benson said it is a good investment because with high gas prices, most people are staying local and vacationing in their backyards.
The master plan will be consistent with the town’s Official Community Plan.