Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

The latest iteration of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s draft parks and trails strategy will proceed to a public comment phase sometime in spring 2022.

Details of how residents will be able to provide feedback are not available yet, but are expected to be posted on the RDN’s Get Involved website sometime in January, parks staff said. This will be the second round of consultation on the strategy, the process for which began back in 2019 but was slowed down due to COVID-19.

The parks and trails strategy covers both the RDN’s regional and community parks and has a 10-year vision meant to provide a “unified approach” to the parks system. Seven goals are included in the draft version: parkland acquisition of “important natural areas and representative landscapes,” protect and enhance “natural parkland areas,” enhance and develop trail connections, provide “well-maintained and diverse” amenities, incorporate First Nations perspectives into parks planning and design, strengthen land use partnerships with local and provincial organizations and increase volunteering and learning opportunities within the parks and trails system.

Some of the actions outlined to achieve the goals include creating an inventory and map of natural areas within the district, adding a regional park reserve category to the parks system to allow for the purchase of land even if funds are not yet available to develop the land as a park, implementing an invasive species management strategy and completing a parks and trails master plan for each electoral area.

Presentation of the final strategy to the board of directors is slated for July 2022.

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