Although the official transfer of the property isn’t expected to be complete until year’s end, the Regional District of Central Kootenay continues to work on turning the Crescent Valley beach into a regional park.
It was announced almost a year ago that the longtime owners are donating the 6.6 acres (2.6 hectares) to the regional district, including the popular beach used by the public for generations.
While they don’t yet have title to the land, community services manager Joe Chirico says they’ve started the planning process.
“We’ve had lots of co-operation from the land owner,” he said in an interview. “This summer we did an archaeological assessment and right now we’re working with a biologist to identify a species at risk.”
The latter is the western screech owl. Chirico said they need to have more conversations about how to incorporate its presence into their plan.
The archeologist’s report, meanwhile, identified the old Patrick sawmill site as well as pre-contact First Nations sites, according to parks supervisor Cary Gaynor.
“We look forward to having a park there to protect those areas,” he said. “The hope is having a park can create interpretation [opportunities].”
Planning is expected to begin early next year, with a public process and development of a more detailed outline of the work to commence in spring.
Chirico says their prime concern is safety.
“In particular, anyone who’s been along that stretch will know the parking situation is congested,” he says. “Our first priority will be working with the Ministry of Transportation and trying to improve that situation.”
Other basic infrastructure may be added, including washrooms and picnic table.
The initial capital costs, including surveying, subdivision, and parking are expected to be $60,000 to $80,000 while annual maintenance is project at $13,000 to $20,000.