A new regional park along the foreshore of the Fraser River is being considered in Hope.
The Fraser Valley Regional District is interested in 4.35 hectares (10.5 acres) of Crown land north of 62180 Delair Road for park purposes and providing public access to the river.
“We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to bring another regional park to Hope,” said FVRD planner David Urban, during a presentation to council on Monday night. “It’s really a hotbed for biodiversity and something quite unique for the area. Complementing recreation there is the education component.”
In keeping with past uses in the area, the emphasis of the park would be on protecting and enhancing the sensitive wildlife and fisheries habitat. This site is best known for angling access to the Fraser River and birdwatching. Over time the riverfront location could also connect into the multi-jurisdictional Experience the Fraser project.
Urban said the property owners to the south of this area are quite supportive of the idea since they have been unofficial stewards of the land for many years, but have listed their property for sale.
The Crown land could be obtained for regional park purposes through a Nominal Rent Tenure (NRT) lease, which provides tenure to a public sector organization for $1. A lease term is typically 30 years, and the tenure holder has the right to modify the land and/or construct improvements as specified in the contract and is granted exclusive use of the land for quiet enjoyment.
In 2001, the FVRD made a similar application that encompassed this land as well as additional Crown land on each side. It was approximately three times larger in size but was denied by the province due to the lack of adjacent landowners consent required to avoid any concern regarding riparian rights.
Obtaining a Nominal Rent Tenure is a lengthy process that can take nearly a year since it involves the drafting of a management plan, public engagement and technical review. For a complete application to be accepted for review a local government resolution endorsing the application is needed.
Urban was hoping to garner a letter of support from the District of Hope on Monday night before further pursuing the initiative. However, council expressed concern over supporting a project without getting feedback from residents first. They like the proposed park idea, but told Urban they’d like to see public consultation before drafting a letter of support.