Budget, pathways and Rollo McClay topics covered by Parks committee
With the 2012 budget formally approved by the Regional District of Nanaimo, the Area B Parks budget will total $172,265.
Of that, $60,000 will be coming from the Capital Development projects reserve fund to repair the pond liner and pumphouse at the Rollo McClay Community Park.
From the operating funds, $25,000 will be put towards replacing the South Road stairs; $13,000 will be put towards Huxley Park upgrades; $7,000 will go towards 707 Community Park signage and $5,000 will be put towards establishing clear public beach accesses on Mudge Island.
For those doing the math, that does leave a chunk of the $173K unnamed - there are the regular annual maintenance and operational costs also wrapped into there, the above amounts are highlights of what is new this fiscal year.
Elaine McColloch, RDN Parks Planner and Howard Houle, Director Area B, both reported to the Gabriola Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Committee this past week that two projects POSAC has been involved in will be completed this summer.
The first is the installation of guidance signage in the 707 Community Park.
Elaine said the RDN staff will be ready to go by June 11 on installation and is just needing to coordinate with volunteers from the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT) who will be helping with the installation.
Randy Young, who is a member of both POSAC and GaLTT, said the volunteers will be ready and he will be in touch with Jonothan Lobb, RDN Parks Operations Coordinator.
The other project is also one Randy has been pushing forward from both his POSAC and GaLTT positions, and that is to fill in the hole on the Tin Can Alley Trail which connects from North Road to the 707 Park.
The hole comes from where a culvert sits under the trail. Locals have been patching over the hole with pieces of wood, but as Howard pointed out, there is quite a safety issue.
Howard said RDN staff will need to GPS the culvert’s location, which should be done in the next 10 days and shortly after that repairs will be done.
“We’ll be moving on that right away.”
GaLTT recommended to remove doggie bins from parks temporarily
Randy noted the RDN has garbage cans installed at locations on the island, and queried whether one could be installed at Twin Beaches.
He explained GaLTT has a doggie bin there, with plastic bags provided so owners can pick up after their canine friends.
“Unfortunately at Twin Beaches there are lots of people who use the doggie bag bin for garbage. The contractor who currently does the pickup for GaLTT wants to quit because he finds picking up the tourist garbage at the same time beyond he capability. Is there any possibility of getting an RDN garbage can there?”
Howard said he had spoken with RDN staff. As Twin Beaches is a provincial park, the RDN has no responsibility.
He added, “My suggestion is currently we are having a problem with a bear. Consider removing the can for now until we are able to deal with the bear situation.”
Randy said, “that would solve a few problems. At one time there was a sign [at Twin Beaches] which said there is no garbage can, the sign disappeared.”
Gas Tax monies could be used to speed up planning of off-road trail connection through Village
Howard said he had spoken with RDN Chief Administrative Officer Carol Mason on whether the Community Works Funds (sometimes called the gas tax funds because of where the money comes from) could be used to hire a planner for a project in Area B.
The project Howard had in mind was specifically the off-road trail proposed to connect from the North/South Road junction to Tin Can Alley through the Village.
Howard said staff, “will be looking in to a way to do that. If that happens the project would move along quicker because the hours would not have to come from Elaine - that could move forward quicker than we thought.”
Garbage service discussed for Mudge
David Laidlaw, who sits as chair of the Islands Trust Mudge Island Advisory Planning Commission, was present at the POSAC meeting and asked if there is any assistance the RDN can provide Mudge Islanders in terms of garbage disposal.
Howard said he had contacted the solid waste management staff.
“We’re looking in to the possibilities of putting a garbage container at El Verano. There are issues with that, starting with the slope. Access in to one of these bin areas would be difficult.”
Howard added it could also mean the loss of some of the parking at El Verano.
“And when you put these things [dumpsters] out there, people use it for washers, dryers, sofas and cars. Mudge Islanders would need to recognize if we put a container there they would be taxed for it and if it is used excessively the taxes would go up.”
Rollo Park concession operations report
During the report on Parks operations, POSAC member Jacinthe Eastick asked Elaine for details about the concession at Rollo McClay, currently operated by Tannie Meyer on behalf of the Gabriola 4-H.
Joan Michel, RDN Parks and Trails Coordinator said after the meeting that there has never been much competition to run the concession.
“The situation has been more one of finding a group that could stick it out and make a go of it.”
Currently Tannie operates the concession six days a week between the adult and youth ball leagues.
Joan said the 4-H Club has a 2012 concession permit for the period of May 1 to Sept. 30 under both the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the RDN.
Joan said a decade ago the RDN took out the VIHA permit and the Gabriola Recreation Society oversaw concession use.
Since then, VIHA rules have become more stringent and the Gabriola 4-H took over operations (including obtaining the VIHA permit) in 2010.
“Virginia [Rec. Society coordinator] and I work together on park and concession use requests from others at Rollo and I handle the actual permit issuance.”
She added if there was any movement towards other groups operating the concession for events, the Rec. Society would need to take responsibility for the VIHA permit, “something I’m not aware they’re interested in doing.”
In terms of the operation of the concession, Joan said, “I have heard no complaints about access and have heard a lot of good reports from the ball players about the regularity of service.”
Jacinthe had also asked about the maintenance budget for Rollo McClay fields.
Howard informed her the RDN provides the materials for the park maintenance, but the slo-pitch association handled the actual maintenance such as spreading the gravel in the ball diamonds and building of the new bleachers over the past three seasons.
CORRECTION: According to Howard Houle, Director, Area B, Regional District of Nanaimo, when published, the Parks above contained incorrect information. Howard explained, “The RDN supplies the material for the maintenance of the ball fields, the gabriola soft ball association dose the spreading of those materials .
“They do not do maintenance on the fencing, buildings etc. The RDN has had staff working on the other maintenance issues. The building of bleachers was done under contact and not by the Gabriola Softball Association.”
Correction to June 11 correction:
The correction published above from Area B Director Howard Houle was incorrect in stating the construction of bleachers at Rollo Field did not have anything to do with the Gabriola Slo-Pitch Association. Documentation provided by Slo-Pitch Association Treasurer Rob Mayrand showed that in 2009, the Regional District of Nanaimo had purchased the single set of bleachers that year. Installation of the bleachers was done under contract, an $800 cost which was paid for by the Slo-Pitch Association.
In 2011, the SPA purchased two more sets of bleachers and paid to have them installed at Rollo Field. Total cost was $2,986.96, to which the RDN contributed $300. Howard wrote in to the Sounder saying, “after reviewing documents provided by the Slo-Pitch Association I stand corrected on the issues of the construction of the bleachers at Rollo Sports Field. I would like to apologize to the Gabriola Sounder and the Slo-Pitch Association for my error.
“I would also like to thank the Association for all the work they do on the fields.”
~ Derek Kilbourn, Editor