Victoria, BC– The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has identified important next steps for the Regional Parks Land Acquisition Fund (LAF) that will guide priorities for regional parks and trails over the next ten years. The Board will look at renewing the fund beyond 2019 and, if it is renewed, whether some portion of that fund should be used for facilities and maintenance in regional parks.
“Our expanding parks system helps protect the environment and biodiversity while connecting an ever-increasing number of people with nature,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant. “The Board is committed to ensuring the success of the Land Acquisition Fund and will consider important criteria such as understanding what lands are available and the operating costs that come with acquisitions.”
Prior to the Board making a decision on the future of the LAF, staff are preparing relevant information for the Board to review. Information for the Board to consider includes criteria for future land acquisitions, landscape evaluation outcomes, and options on service level adjustments to maintain the Regional Parks system as a whole. Staff have also been directed to report back on potential opportunities to partner with other organizations to leverage funding and increase acquisitions, while ensuring CRD interests are met through covenants and joint ownership opportunities.
In 2018, the CRD ran an online public opinion survey for 14 weeks to obtain preliminary information on the public’s views regarding the future of the fund. The survey shows 89% of participants were in favour of extending the LAF for another 10 years, which is consistent with previous household surveys. 77% of respondents supported using the fund to buy parkland, even if facilities for public use might not be developed for many years. A survey report has been prepared and offers an in-depth analysis of the opinions and suggestions received from self-selected survey participants.
Since the fund was established in 2000, the regional parks system has grown from just over 8,400 hectares to over 13,000 hectares in 2018. The Regional Parks Land Acquisition Strategy provides the CRD Board with a road map for acquiring land to add to the regional parks and trails system. It is guided by the CRD Regional Parks Strategic Plan.
For additional information on the LAF, please visit: https://www.crd.bc.ca/parks-recreation-culture/parks-trails/crd-regional-parks/land-acquisition-fund
Attachment: Survey Highlights Report (PDF)
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Andy Orr, Senior Manager
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