Revelstoke has seen a recreation infrastructure boom in recent years

Stakeholders fear government will cut Revelstoke recreation officer

Impending retirement of recreation officer Ken Gibson has local groups worried position will be shifted outside of Revelstoke

There’s no more conservation officer in Revelstoke. Now, local outdoor recreation groups are worried that Revelstoke could lose its recreation officer too, as Ken Gibson prepares for retirement later this year.

“The stuff he’s done, who’s going to do that for us?” said Dave Kaegi, the president of the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club. “To have that direct local link of support has been huge. For the mountain bike club, the Nordic ski club, the dirt bike club, he’s there to help make things work.”

Gibson’s retirement is still not entirely certain. In a response to an e-mail from the Times Review he wrote, “It is a little too early to say – likely March 31.”

The question of who, if anyone will replace him, has user groups worried. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations gave a positive but non-committal response.

“The Recreation Sites and Trails branch has expressed a desire to retain this position in Revelstoke,” said Brennan Clarke. “However, since Mr. Gibson is not due to retire for another three months, it’s too soon to speculate on his replacement.”

Gibson was praised by the people we spoke to for his work to help develop Revelstoke’s recreation infrastructure. Kaegi called him a “monstrous asset for all clubs in the community,” saying he provided great support in getting applications through government bureaucracy.

Chris Pawlitsky, the president of the Revy Riders dirt bike club, said Gibson was “invaluable to the success of our club and probably all the other clubs in town.” He said Gibson was a stickler for the rules and made sure everything was done properly, which he believes has paid off for everyone. Gibson also made sure all the local user groups cooperated and got along, said Pawlitsky.

“It’s going to ensure continued success of all the recreational groups in the valley because he wanted everything done so properly,” he said.

Mayor David Raven said he was concerned about the possible loss of Gibson’s position and that it would be a blow to the community, both because it would mean losing a well-paying, full-time job, and also because it would impact the community’s connection to the land base.

“Because the community has a sense of ownership of the resource that surrounds it, the land base that surrounds it, then it will have a corresponding loss of management and control on that land base,” he said.

Both Kaegi and Pawlitsky pointed to the fact that Gibson is out skiing on the Nordic trails or riding and jogging on the mountain bike and dirt bike trails, and that he has firsthand knowledge of what is happening here.

There is fear that if his post is moved out of town, whoever takes it over won’t have the same local knowledge of what is happening in Revelstoke in the area of recreation infrastructure.

“Say we wanted to get a trail built, if it went to somebody out of town, it wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar on some bureaucrats desk in Victoria. It wouldn’t mean anything to them,” said Pawlitsky.

Revelstoke has seen a boom in recreation infrastructure in recent years, with many new trails and facilities being built thanks to the work of local recreation groups and funding from the tourism infrastructure fund.

 

Just Posted

Revelstoke elementary students cast votes in mock election

Begbie View and Arrow Heights Elementary took part in the vote

InVertigo playing The Last Drop Friday night

Rock’n’roll band once again coming to Revelstoke

Kootenay-Columbia candidate cautious after getting threats

Trev Miller of the Animal Protection Party carries on campaigning under shadow of threats, abusive emails

YouTube video of Revelstoke grizzly bear goes viral

Why did the grizzly bear cross the railway tracks?

Federal candidates talk most pressing issues in Revelstoke

Concerns include jobs, logging, climate change, affordable housing, Highway 1

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

One year later: Vernon pot stores look back at legalization

Edibles made legal on first anniversary of recreational cannabis

Memorial remembers North Okanagan’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

Two years later, City of Fernie remembers

Oct. 17, 2019 marks two years since the tragic ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Great Vernon Pumpkin Race to star in South Korean documentary

Pumpkin Classic event to kick off this weekend with gourd weigh-ins

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Most Read