B.C. Campground Plan Gets Official Snub
Questions have surfaced over plans for a recreational site in the North Westside Road area near Vernon, British Columbia.
The Central Okanagan Regional District (CORD) board does not support an application from the Ministry of Tourism to establish a campground on five undeveloped parcels of government-owned land just to the north of Lake Okanagan Resort, according to the Vernon Morning Star.
“We have so little information,” said Jim Edgson, director.
The area is currently zoned for parks and open space and is used primarily for trails and horseback riding. Edgson describes the recreation site proposal “admirable,” but believes a number of outstanding issues must be addressed by the government first.
“There are a lot of archeological sites and there’s the Okanagan Fir Brigade Trail,” he said.
If the government does proceed with a recreational site designation for the land, the regional district is demanding a proper archeological assessment and statutory protection of the brigade trail. There is also a call for environmental and wildfire assessments.
Edgson also insists that a provincially designated recreational site could take away land needed to upgrade a narrow section of Westside Road.
“If this goes into park, I’m concerned the road won’t be straightened out or widened.” he said.
CORD staff members acknowledge the need for additional campgrounds in the region, but they say these parcels represent some of the last undeveloped government-owned lands on Okanagan Lake.
“In recognition of the pending review and update of the North Westside official community plan and due to significant environmental issues associated with the five lakefront properties, the proposal should be considered in concert with the OCP review and update process,” said planner Ron Fralick in a written report to the board.
Fralick added that the area is significant for kokanee salmon stocks. “In excess of 6,000 kokanee have been identified spawning along this area since 2001,” he said.