The District of Houston hopes to tap into a $30 million provincial program aimed at boosting the province’s tourism industry.
It took the first step by submitting a summary of its goals and objectives in modernizing and expanding Bymac Park, a key player in the District’s overall strategy of emphasizing the area’s outdoor attractions.
Should that summary pass scrutiny, the District will then file a formal and more detailed application for up to $1 million.
The District already has an agreed upon plan for park improvements that could cost as much as $1.23 million.
It has identified three ways of financing the work — using its own reserves, using profits from the sale of merchantable timber from the firebreak created in the Buck Flats area and the expectation it will receive a federal grant and a provincial grant from another program.
But a successful application for $1 million from the BC Destination Development Fund would present a more cohesive financing package, said District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar.
“This will hopefully eliminate the need for taxpayers dollars to go towards the project. It also provides redundancy if other grant applications are unsuccessful,” he said.
A first priority at Bymac Park has been to improve the boat launch area to alleviate what had been a regular silting up.
Other priorities include improving the access road and parking, running power to the location, improving trails, adding picnic tables, building a playground, replacing signage and adding landscaping.
But the largest item on the ‘to do’ list is adding 12 serviced camping spots for recreational vehicles, a cost that consultants hired by the District estimate could cost as much as $708,000.
That work would include water, sanitation in the form of a septic system and supplying power.
Also part of the work program would be a washroom building of two showers, four toilets and two urinals.
Inflationary costs have pushed up first estimates for the project package, leading to council approving taking $330,000 from District reserves this fall to close the gap.