The Black Mountain - sntsk’il’ntən Regional Park, pictured in 2018. (Barry Gerding - Capital News)

Black Mountain Regional Park upgrades to come

The funding for the upgrades comes from a Canada-B.C. infrastructure grant

A large infrastructure grant is helping Black Mountain – sntsk’il’ntən Regional Park become more accessible.

Under the Canada-B.C. Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, both the federal and provincial governments will contribute nearly $715,000 towards new features in the 640-hectare regional park.

The federal government is contributing $390,000 to the project and the provincial government is contributing $324,967. The funds will be used to build three new multi-use trails including one leading to the summit of Black Mountain. Other park amenities will also be constructed including washrooms, parking areas at Joe Rich Road and Swainson Road, information and kiosk signage, and guard rail fences. The work is set to begin this fall and will be completed by summer 2022.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) will provide $260,033, which the regional district said will be used to “build community inclusiveness, stewardship and connectivity within the regional park.”

RDCO chair Gail Given said it’s an exciting investment.

“The funds will help us realize one of the Regional Board’s Strategic Priorities to provide residents with greater opportunities to connect with nature in the Central Okanagan,” she said.

Westbank First Nation (WFN) Chief Chris Derickson thanks the federal and provincial governments for the grant.

“Thank you to both levels of government for investing in our culturally significant sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park, including, as part of the Regional Park Management Plan, improved access, safety, and information for its visitors,” he said.

“As stewards of the land, protecting areas of environmental and cultural significance is crucial to ensuring that these lands remain intact for future generations to visit, appreciate, and learn from.”

The RDCO and the WFN co-manage the protected park. The park is home to at least nine endangered or threatened species and ecological communities including grassland, open Ponderosa pine and grassland savanna. The park is important to the Syilx people for its wide variety of animals, plants and medicines along with resources for tool making.

Work in the park is still underway, but residents can access parts of it now through an off-street parking area on Tower Ranch Drive and the City of Kelowna Tower Ranch Mountain Park.

READ: Okanagan COVID-19 case count growth slows

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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