The proposal to create a new park in the Cherry Creek Falls area is one step closer to reality after Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett announced the Province’s support to have the mineral rights to the land in question returned to the Crown.
“I had to persuade the Ministry of Energy and Mines to put a staking reserve over not just the area where the RDEK park is going to go but across the whole area. The mineral tenure is quite a large piece,” Bennett told the Townsman.
“Obviously the mines ministry is not really enthusiastic about saying to a tenure holder, ‘We don’t want you to develop anything there once you’ve claimed this tenure, we want you to go someplace else.’ They are quite reluctant to do that,” said Bennett. “It was really quite a significant accomplishment.”
Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Electoral Area E Director Jane Walter said it involved contributions from numerous people.
“This is a significant step forward,” said Walter. “I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this project including MLA Bennett, RDEK staff, the owners of the mineral claim who have been so cooperative, the Ministries of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Energy and Mines, the community of Meadowbrook and all those who donated funds.”
The Meadowbrook Community Association has raised the funds to purchase the 188-hectare Mineral Claim and the process to help preserve the area is with the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
“There are still a number of applications that we will have to go through, but the desire by the province to see this process continue to move forward has been a critical step,” added Walter.
Bennett said B.C. Liberals candidate for Columbia River-Revelstoke Doug Clovechok took on working with the community association while Bennett advocated for the park in Victoria.
“He deserves the credit for working with the community group and encouraging them to come up with the money. I did the Victoria side of it but he did all of the local stuff,” said Bennett.
“I wanted to get it done before the election. If I happen not to be in government, or if I happen not to get re-elected, it’s a loose end. I am trying to finish up as many things as I can. So we obviously wanted to get it done prior to the writ dropping on April 16.”
If the current applications are approved, the RDEK will apply to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for tenure over 16 hectares of Crown land in the vicinity of the falls for regional park purposes.
For more information, contact RDEK planner Michele Bates at 1-888-478-7335 or 250-489-2791.