Houston District Agrees to Help Fund Regional Recreation – Houston Today
The Houston District Council has officially committed to participate in the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District’s new regional recreation initiative.
Formal approval came from the board at its May 17 meeting and that approval came with a commitment to provide $14,775 through a modest annual tax increase beginning in 2023.
Houston was grouped with the surrounding rural area, which is Area G in the Regional District, and the Village of Granisle as one of four tax areas for regional recreation function.
At the meeting, Regional District Planner Jason Llewellyn updated council on the steps leading to funding for regional recreation initiatives.
The basis for a regional recreation funding and development program stems from an extensive study conducted by the regional district in which existing recreational facilities were mapped and feedback from residents and volunteer recreation clubs and groups was taken. into account.
Easy access to lakes and rivers, campgrounds and trails were a major component of the responses received, as were concerns about maintenance of trails and boat ramps and damage caused by windfall and overgrowth on hiking and biking trails.
A steady budget stream through tax funding was also presented as an alternative to volunteer groups having to submit continuous applications for grants and other assistance.
Having the regional district provide an overall administrative structure could also facilitate requirements for regulatory approvals and contact with provincial ministries.
A regional recreation initiative further forms part of the district’s desire to expand Dungate Community Forest so that logging can complement the development of recreational opportunities and logging profits can fund external projects.
During discussions, Houston District Councilors emphasized that any budget formula must be such that money raised in one area stays in that specific area. And they said any program should be mutually beneficial to surrounding municipalities and rural areas.