Wilmer Community Park (better known to locals as Selkirk Park) has now become an Electoral Area G park under the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).
“It’s always been a natural area and most of the people of Wilmer seem to want to keep it way,” said RDEK Area G director Gerry Wilkie.
The park, which is about four hectares (0.03 square kilometres) in size, is bisected by a steep ravine running from the town’s main street to the wetlands and is heavily wooded.
The lease for the Crown land had expired and the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations had advised that if the lease were to be renewed, the RDEK would need to submit a formal management plan. In order to figure out what to do, the RDEK carried out public consultation with Wilmer residents in the form of a meeting and an online survey, Most residents indicated a preference for keeping the park and having the RDEK submit a management plan, but that the management of the newly official park should be kept to a minimum.
“It is quite a modest management plan, mostly encompassing things such as removing danger trees, and that sort of stuff,” said Mr. Wilkie.
RDEK chief administrative officer Lee-Ann Crane added that the minor changes to the park would not extend much beyond the dangerous trees mentioned by Mr. Wilkie and perhaps would include picking up litter, doing some wildfire prevention and maybe putting in a few signs.
“No major improvements are expected,” she said.
“For what happens next, now it all depends on the provincial government, and I’m somewhat confident they’ll accept the management plan,” said Mr. Wilkie. “It’s really been a collaborative effort between the RDEK and the people of Wilmer.”
During the public consultation, it became apparent that Wilmer residents often used the park as a place to walk dogs, birdwatch or as a safe place for kids to play, that few people actually go into the ravine, and that the park functions as a small wildlife corridor.