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Grants south for significant improvements at Bymac Park

Plan calls for 13 serviced lots for RVs
Provide grants are approved, Bymac Park is to undergo significant improvements. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

The District of Houston is continuing plans for Bymac Park improvements by applying for two grants which, when the District adds its own money, would amount to a project package of $760,000.

If successful, one grant of $250,000 would come from a federal program and another of $300,000 would come from a Northern Development Initiative Trust program.

That would amount to $550,000 and with the District’s own $215,000 from surpluses and sales of timber from areas cleared to reduce wildfire risk, the proposed project budget of $760,000 would be reached.

The project package council hopes will result should its grant applications be successful would see Bymac have 13 serviced and 12 unserviced sites.

Roads, parking, water systems and sanitary systems would take up $580,000 and shower building, playground, walkways, signage and landscaping would account for $174,000.

Concepts, proposals and cost projections were prepared by District of Houston consultants Urban Systems and considered by council before it approved of the anticipated work plan.

As it stands now, Bymac Park contains 12 either formal or informal unserviced campsites and is a popular camping and fishing location, thanks to the boat launch, for both locals and tourists.

Improvements are viewed by the District as one way to further develop a tourism industry, adding to the economy and the diversification of the area.

“Approximating spending of visitors can involve some important assumptions, but if 50 per cent of users of the Bymac campground are non-residents, spending $60 per group per day in the community, that would bring over $100,000 of additional revenue annually for local businesses because of the campground,” Urban Systems estimated.

The upgrades laid out by Urban Systems and approved by council, pending financing, include:

- upgraded parking and traffic circulation pattern for RVs and boat trailers

- 13 official rustic sites

- 12 sites for RVs that are serviced with water and power but not sewer

- a shower and washroom building envisioned at 600 square feet in size. it would have a septic system

- a day use area with small rustic playground

- walkways and pedestrian paths

- wildlife proof waste bins

- power service

- water supply

The above projected work is in addition to yet more improvements at the park — a much improved boat launch.

And that’s to spend $130,000 on what Urban Systems calls a “calm water launch/take out” that maintains the calm water experience.

This launch concept would, however, require annual dredging to remove silt build up, something Urban Systems estimated would take “a few hours of machine work”.

As it is, the boat launch location has been affected by silt build up to the point that without dredging, it was rendered unusable.

Key to the work is laying down concrete mats to provide a firm foundation for launching and retrieving boats.

The budget for the boat launch is being bolstered by $15,000 from the Freshwater Fishing Society of B.C. and the profit from the sale of trees cut down on the outskirts of the community to create a firebreak and reduce the risk of wildfire.

The freshwater society actually provided a grant of $30,000 which required it all to be spent by the end of March 2023.

That’s not possible for this particular project so the council has asked staffers to come back with ideas on how to spend the $15,000 remaining from the grant before the deadline.