Ropes course planned for Myra-Bellevue

A European model for corporate team building or personal development is proposed for a corner of Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park

The von Andrian family point to the trees in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park where they would like to create a ropes course as a team building exercise or for personal development.

A June Springs Road family have applied to construct a ropes course just inside the boundary of Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, near their home.

A park use permit would be required to operate commercially within the park, and that application is currently being reviewed by the province, reports John Trewhitt, protected areas section head for this region.

“We’re not proposing a zipline or an adventure park, just a little course of ropes and wood for people to climb from tree to tree,” explained proponent Rolf von Andrian.

Small platforms are constructed at various levels in the trees and connected by different types of bridges. Using safety harnesses, participants maneuver from platform to platform.

Rope courses are used as corporate team building exercises or for personal development, he explained.

Such courses are common in Europe where companies take teams of employees to encourage teamwork on the job and to challenge them.

Von Andrian was a lawyer in Germany and his wife Kathrin was a phys ed teacher. Both are ski instructors and would like to use those skills and their mountain climbing skills here as well.

They moved into their new home adjacent to the park last summer with their four youngsters and they operate a bed and breakfast as well as hosting a riding stable on their 12-acre property.

Everything in the ropes course would be removable, with nothing fixed and there wouldn’t be any structures built in the park; no lights or electricity would be needed, he said. There wouldn’t be any permanent buildings.

He says the course would be hidden in the trees.

The idea is that the course would operate May to October, and von Andrian estimates there could be 20 people using it on weekdays and 50 a day on the weekends, so overall he envisions there could be 5,000 to 6,000 visitors over the whole season.

It would require a few hectares near the parking lot for the Angel Springs trail off June Springs Road.

Von Andrian says before applying to the province for a permit for the course, he first talked to representatives from Tourism Kelowna, the Chamber of Commerce, City of Kelowna, economic development commission, regional district and the Friends of the South Slopes.

The family has invited the neighbours to drop by their home if they have questions about the proposal Sun., Nov. 4, noon to 6 p.m., at Myra Canyon Ranch, 4675 June Springs Road, and others interested are also welcome.

Trewhitt said parks looks for operations that add to the recreation values of the park, like guiding services or bike rentals; something that enhances the recreation value of the park.

First, he says they look at the management plan for the park and see if there’s zoning for the activity being proposed, but often with new trends there won’t be a policy developed yet to cover new activities.

They try to adjudicate applications within 140 days, he said.

The website for the course is: www.ropercourse.ca

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com