Slocan receives support to withdraw from regional parks, recreation

Slocan's wish to be let out of regional parks and recreation services will likely be granted.
— image credit: Greg Nesteroff photo

The Village of Slocan appears to have enough support from neighbouring local governments to withdraw from regional parks and recreation services.

The village has told the Regional District of Central Kootenay it “cannot justify any balanced rationale” to remain in the services given the financial challenges it faces with the loss of tax revenue from its sawmill, which is being demolished.

However, getting out of the parks service requires the approval of two-thirds of the participants, which also include Silverton, New Denver, and rural Area H. Withdrawing from recreation needed the consent of Area H alone.

New Denver village council unanimously opposed Slocan’s request to withdraw from parks, but Silverton and rural director Walter Popoff offered their support.

“I believe it is fundamentally and morally wrong to deny a municipality or an electoral area the right to participate or not participate in an RDCK service,” Popoff wrote in an April 29 letter to the regional district, included with a board agenda released Thursday.

“Therefore I have no objection to the Slocan Village request. However I do have a concern about the financial viability of the service [and] would recommend that [the] RDCK board pursue sustainable funding from the province for our electoral area parks.”

Popoff also supported Slocan’s withdrawal from regional recreation, but is asking for the development of a parks and recreation master plan for the valley.

If Slocan goes, it will mean a loss of about $3,000 in year to the parks service, which looks after the Rosebery parklands, Galena Trail, Bigelow Bay Park, Winlaw Nature Park, and the new Crescent Valley Beach Park.

Silverton and New Denver will be expected to pay $200 more per year each, while Area H will pick up $2,600 more. Without Slocan, Area H will pay $100,000 per year for recreation, up from about $94,500. If approved, the changes would take effect in 2015.

The matter will be dealt with at Thursday’s board meeting, where staff are recommending they prepare a bylaw amendment to remove Slocan from the two services.

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