Campers at a provincial park in British Columbia. (Northern Vancouver Island Tourism/Steven Fines)

Campers at a provincial park in British Columbia. (Northern Vancouver Island Tourism/Steven Fines)

B.C. allocates $5-million towards projects in 24 provincial parks

Funds to go towards infrastructure that aids in helping park goers maintain adequate social distance

By Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The provincial government has pledged $5-million towards development projects spanning across 24 B.C. parks.

As part of the province’s StrongerBC economic recovery initiative to promote wellness and employment, the funds will be allocated towards improvements, such as the installation of a raised boardwalk and viewing platform in MacMillan Provincial Park and the replacement of boardwalk and stair structures in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park.

“We have heard the call for greater access to the outdoors to promote health and well-being during COVID-19,” said George Heyman, minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in a news release. “These meaningful projects create jobs to address those needs as part of our support for B.C. communities.”

The Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) and 43K Wilderness Solutions were awarded a contract for the replacement of a two-kilometer boardwalk at Hot Springs Cove, which is located at Maquinna park.

“This work is the result of a Park Operator Agreement between BC Parks and the Ahousaht First Nation formed in 2017 for the maintenance of Maquinna Marine Park,” said the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The Agreement establishes a shared commitment for BC Parks and the Ahousaht First Nation to explore and pursue economic development opportunities.”

Two crews of three carpenters from Ahousaht, along with a shift supervisor from 43K Wilderness Solutions, will rotate in to replace the boardwalk. The $1.1-million project kicked-off last week and is anticipated to be complete by the end of the May, said MHSS general manager John Caton.

A “rustic” camp at Hot Springs Cove has been erected, where each worker is equipped with their own 10-feet by 12-feet sidewall tent that is outfitted with a propane heater and bed. The camp has an enclosed kitchen and on-demand hot running water.

While Caton said he has his fingers crossed that COVID-19 is going to allow the hot springs to open this year, only time will tell.

Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, remains closed as it normally experiences over 500,000 visits per year, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“Due to the unique nature of the park, the trail system and boardwalks are very narrow making appropriate physical distancing extremely challenging,” said the ministry. “The parking areas at MacMillan Provincial Park are small and compact and do not allow for physical distancing in this area.”

The announcement is part of the province’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which is designed to protect people’s health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities.

As one of the largest park systems in North America, B.C. has over 1,000 provincial parks, recreation areas and ecological reserves that cover around 14.4 per cent of the provincial land base.

“An investment in our parks is an investment in the people of British Columbia,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment in a release. “Getting outside is more important than ever, and our government is committed to expanding parks so that all British Columbians can enjoy the beautiful natural landscape of our province.”

Around two per cent of the province’s parks and protected area systems have been largely developed with a visitor-use focus, including facilities such as campgrounds, boat launches and parking lots.

“We are celebrating this investment in BC Parks, which will have far-reaching benefits for people and nature,” said Annita Mcphee, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. chapter. “Keeping parks accessible and sustainably supported will create a more welcoming parks system, building healthy communities and future nature stewards.”

BC governmentBC Parks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Raj Singh Toor (left) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea after an official apology for the treatment of Komagata Maru passengers in 1914. (Contributed photo)
Request made for City of White Rock to honour Komagata Maru passengers

Raj Singh Toor confident city will rename ‘street, park or city asset’ in honour of 1914 tragedy

Cloverdale robbery suspect. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Man charged in relation to four separate robberies in Cloverdale

Jake Eric Henderson allegedly committed four gas station robberies in January

A memorial to Hudson Brooks grew quickly outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment following his July 2015 death at the hands of police. (File photo)
Inquest yields ‘sliver of justice’ for South Surrey’s Hudson Brooks: brother

Beau Brooks says he’s not optimistic call for increased RCMP training will bear fruit

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read