Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

Funds to develop a recreation, parks and trails master plan for Electoral Area B have been added to the Regional District of Nanaimo’s 2022-26 financial plan.

A total of $70,000 – $35,000 each from Area B recreation services and parks services budgets – would be allocated in 2023.

“We’ve been having a lot of discussion on Gabriola about recreation services,” Area B Director Vanessa Craig, who introduced the motion at the Dec. 7, 2021 committee of the whole meeting said, adding future conversations about access to recreation facilities should be part of a greater discussion that includes parkland.

Craig has been in discussion with the Gabriola Recreation Society, who has an agreement with the RDN to deliver recreation services on the island, and RDN staff about doing a needs-based assessment with regard to recreation facilities on the island.

“Right now I’ve been speaking to staff, wanting to make sure that we’re working together with the society and making sure that we have the ability and funding in place with the hope that we’re going to be moving towards that in 2023,” Craig said at the committee meeting.

How a needs-based assessment would tie in to a master plan is unclear as Craig did not respond to a request for clarification as of publication time.

One of the recommendations of the RDN’s draft parks and trails strategy, which covers the entire regional district, is to develop a parks and trails master plan for each electoral area.

Such master plans could consider “potential park improvement projects to support recreation” and safe connections to recreation centres, the draft strategy says.

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