This picnic shelter is just one of the improvements Gardom Lake Community Park Society members have installed at the park over the past 25 years. Other improvements include, toilets, wharves, trails and wheelchair access to the sandy beach. (Photo contributed)

This picnic shelter is just one of the improvements Gardom Lake Community Park Society members have installed at the park over the past 25 years. Other improvements include, toilets, wharves, trails and wheelchair access to the sandy beach. (Photo contributed)

Province says park will stay in community group’s hands

B.C. government reluctant to take on cost of operating Gardom Lake Park

The community group that has managed Gardom Lake Park is optimistic they will be allowed to continue their role caretakers following a meeting with the province.

Fred McAllister, vice president of the Gardom Lake Community Park Society, explained how at a March 25 meeting in Enderby, Keith Weir, senior land manager with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, indicated the society’s licence to operate the park would be renewed.

What remains unanswered is how long the licence will be valid for.

The fate of the park came into question in late 2018. The park society was advised by phone that the ministry did not intend to renew their operating licence when it expires in June 2019. The society had been issued a two-year licence of occupation in 2017 although they requested 10 years.

The park society has managed the park for the past 25 years.

McAllister said they received the two-year licence because the ministry would prefer a government agency take on management of the park rather than the community. He said no government agency has stepped up yet because of the cost of running the park.

The park society operates off of $10,000-per-year funding provided through Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area D director Rene Talbot’s grant in aid fund.

Although the society was told their licence would not be renewed, McAllister said they applied for their grant-in-aid funding as usual.

McAllister said the hope is the park society will be granted another 10-year licence to operate.

“It’s really hard to run the park on a two-year licence. We can’t get funding that we could get if we had a 10-year license,” he said.

Read more: Letter: Gardom Lake Park part of a bigger picture

Read more: Future of Gardom Lake Park up for discussion

Read more: Column: Residents concerned about fate of Gardom Lake Community Park

Planning for upgrades to the park and other large projects are also difficult on a two-year licence. McAllister said the park’s wharf is one upgrade on the horizon as it has been in the water for more than 20 years.

“I’m assuming it’s all going along as normal; I’m planning some spring projects here that we need to do in the park and we’re just continuing on,” said McAllister. “Like I said, we haven’t actually seen the licence but he did sit at a table in front of 10 people and say he was going to give us one.”


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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Province says park will stay in community group’s hands

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