Plans for upgrades to Williamson Lake appear to be met with support at an open house at the community centre last Monday.
The Review attended the open house and everyone we spoke to while there was supportive, though one man came and left quickly, angrily saying the city was “trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.”
The City of Revelstoke is looking at upgrades to the park and campground that would see the existing buildings upgraded or replaced, and the park and campground improved.
The planning was initiated several years ago, but was picked up again earlier this year.
Three designs were created by Fraser Blyth, of Selkirk Planning & Design, with help from architect Henning Schipper. One looks at a configuration focused mostly on developing Williamson Lake as a park, the second looks at focusing on the campground, while the third provides a balance between the two uses.
Ken Talbot said he preferred option three, since it provided a balance between tourist and local use. “You can have it as a good interface between our local people and visitors, which is option three,” he said.
Rob Elliott, the general manager of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, said he believed there were opportunities to spruce up the park.
“I think there’s so many possibilities to make it more inviting for the community and get more people down there and make it more of a focal point for the community,” he said.
When asked about RMR’s plans to build a trail around the lake, he dodged the question. The resort owns most of the land on the east side of the lake. “I think focus on what this is, and that’s a feather in Revelstoke’s cap if they got this finished up,” he said. “It looks like a beautiful plan, not only for tourists but also for the community.”
The park is one of the most popular spots for families, said Tracy Spannier, the coordinator of the Early Childhood Development Committee.
“Of the families that we surveyed, 80-90 per cent are visiting Williamson’s Lake,” she said. “It’s a huge part of the community. It’s an important place to get it right. As much as it’s a tourist spot, it’s very local.”
Gary Krestinski, the president of the Revelstoke Rod & Gun Club, said the club supported re-developing Williamson’s Lake. “Particularly the wheelchair access is great. It will get everybody down there.”
He said the club would like water monitoring conducted on the lake. They have also asked that a turtle rearing area be protected, and for fishing regulations to be posted so visitors know the rules. Lastly, he said the club would like the fishing dock to be located closer to the north end of the lake, where the fishing is better, rather than at the south end of the park.
“Other than that the club thinks it’s great for the place to be upgraded,” Krestinsky said.
The City of Revelstoke parks department will be compiling feedback from the open house to create a final plan, which will be presented to council. No timeline has been set to begin work and no money has been budgeted for the upgrades in the draft 2016-20 financial plan.
While there are some upgrades needed in the near future, many of the proposed changes wouldn’t happen for years to come.
You can see the proposed designs below: