Updated: Province plays cash angel for Bright Angel

A trio of youngsters cool off in the Koksilah River at Bright Angel Park. - Peter W. Rusland/file
A trio of youngsters cool off in the Koksilah River at Bright Angel Park.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland/file

Bright Angel Park will be looking even brighter thanks to a $400,000 infusion from the provincial government.

The money, provided by the province's Community Recreation Program, will be put toward a total of about $560,000 in upgrades and improvements at the popular spot.

"It's a very well-used park, but some of its amenities are very tired," said Ron Austen, general manager of parks, recreation and culture at the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

"It's always a struggle to find enough dollars to revitalize the park, so this provincial grant is certainly going to really enhance and jump-start this (improvement) project."

Bright Angel is slated to receive new washroom and changeroom facilities, regraded trails plus a new off-leash trail, 10 outdoor exercise stations — similar to those installed at the Cowichan Sportsplex — a children's playgrond, a volleyball court and new park benches and tables. The existing sports field will also be regraded and reconditioned.

Austen said the park, which has been around for about 50 years and sees about 100,000 visitors annually, is owned by the province but is leased long-term to the CVRD.

The upgrades, he added, will take about a year to implement.

"What we'll be doing now is convening the various parks commissions involved, and through that process invite community members to critique what we're doing, and get community support, and then once we receive that and secure all the budget and financing, we'll build it," he said. "We'll start the planning process this spring and summer, and be ready for recommendations for our fall/winter 2013 building season. It's a work in progress, but we're ecstatic about the committment of the province, because they've obviously seen the worth of this jewel, and now we'll do our best to give it that new look."

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