Christina Lake residents have concerns about a new campground set to be built at the public beach, although Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell maintains there is also support for the project.
The initiative would add 25 campsites to the public beach at Christina Lake, which is currently available for day use only. Seventeen of the campsites will be full-service, and eight will be walk-in tent sites.
Locals have created a Facebook group titled “Concerned residents about the New Public Beach Campground – Christina Lake” to share and discuss their ideas.
Residents say that they have been “blindsided” by the proposal, and that they received no public consultation.
Danna O’Donnell, RDKB (Regional District of Kootenay Boundary) director for Area D/Rural Grand Forks, expressed concerns about the campground on social media. She said her primary worries are access to the public washrooms, impact on community events hosted at the beach, and general access to the public.
“My biggest fear is that the community and province will lose this treasure that has been for the people of the province for decades.” O’Donnell stated.
McGregor told the Gazette there was no consultation with the community prior to the project being announced. However, she clarified that since residents have become vocal with their concerns and reached out, B.C. parks has been responsive.
“They have listened,” McGregor said. “It just shows you that when you’re part of the process and when you keep that up, people hear what your’e saying. and they are hearing what they’re saying.”
On May 16 B.C. Parks announced it would open an online forum for people to discuss their thoughts about the project.
The message from B.C. Parks also said that construction on the project will be delayed until 2023.
“We need to now all get together and we need to make sure that we have that consultation with B.C. Parks so that they know how we feel…Everyone has an opinion here,” McGregor said. “Put your own comment in. Because everybody’s comments are important, and everybody has a different take, whether they’re for or against.”
Russell said that although some people have concerns about the campground, the plan has received positive feedback for the most part, and the concerns were primarily caused by a lack of communication.
“The majority of the feedback we’re getting is people are actually supportive of our park, and supportive of improvement and development in the park, but are just disappointed that the consultation didn’t roll out.”
Russell also confirmed that because of the high levels of public interest, B.C. Parks will expand the engagement process with the public, including in-person engagement, and a website for people to provide their feedback. The online forum is expected to become available in the coming weeks.