Recreation Strategy and Service Transformation
On June 28, 2023, Monika Bittel, FMCBC director, attended the first of four public engagement sessions to develop a new vision for the public service delivery of outdoor recreation in BC. There were over 30 attendees at the in-person session, including representatives from the Fraser Valley Climbing Society, North Vancouver Outdoor Club, Access Society of BC, Colour the Trails, Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC), BC Snowmobile Federation, Horse Council of BC, Wilderness Tourism, Helicat Canada, BC Conservation Foundation, BC Search and Rescue Foundation and Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning. This partial list of attendees reflects the broad spectrum of people engaged in outdoor recreation in some capacity in BC, who are impacted by government decisions, regulations, and policy, and who are participating in this process.
While the core agencies involved are the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sports and Ministry of Forests, Assistant Deputy Ministers from several other Ministries which have some involvement in or impact on outdoor recreation (i.e., Indigenous Relations, Highways, Land Management) are also engaged in internal discussion on the development of the recreation strategy and service transformation. The FMCBC, ORCBC, and other organizations have been advocating for such an integrated approach to outdoor recreation for several decades and we strongly encourage members and member clubs to take the time to participate in this process. If interested but unable to attend any of the public sessions, John Hawkings, Executive Lead, Recreation Strategy & Service Transformation, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has invited people to share their thoughts by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In terms of timelines, a new provincial vision for outdoor recreation in BC should be in place by the end of 2023. The focus then shifts to how the new vision will be achieved through changes in or development of regulations, agencies, and policies. The substantial work is to be completed by June 2024, prior to the October 2024 elections.
Below is a summary shared by Ximena Diaz Lopez, Fund Development Officer, ORCBC, of the in-person session on June 28, 2023. It provides a helpful overview for the virtual sessions on July 13 (pre-registration now closed), August 2 (registration open until July 26), and a final in-person session planned for some time in the Fall in Kamloops (see ORCBC link on the upcoming sessions). The information collected during all these sessions and written submissions previously made will inform the development of the shared vision for the public service delivery of outdoor recreation in BC.
Summary from Ximena Diaz Lopez, ORCBC, of June 28 In-Person Engagement Process (slides attached)
- Opening remarks from Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, Aman Singh, and Paula Amos, Chief Marketing and Development Officer of Indigenous Tourism BC
- Presentation by John Hawkings setting the context behind the recreation strategy including purpose and scope, trends and drivers, what’s been heard so far, and current position
- Activity 1: Provide written feedback and discussion. We were asked to think about (a) the future of outdoor recreation and what it means for us (b) what is evolving or changing in this area and (c) what are the priority steps for the sector to the future state i.e. opportunities and barriers. These questions were asked as they relate to outdoor recreation and to each of the following areas:
- Vibrant and resilient communities
- Physical and mental health and wellbeing
- Climate and environmental stewardship
- Educational value
- Economic contributions and prosperity
- Cultural connections
- Open category for other comments
- Activity 2: Facilitated discussion in groups about the principles and values that would help realize a shared vision, provide management guidance, and establish a decision-making framework.
- Closing remarks and Q&A with John Hawkings
- These sessions will help define a vision and principles for outdoor recreation in BC. The plan is to set the vision in 2023. More detailed policy work will begin in 2024 where we may expect further engagement as it relates to our specialties.
- There is an internal understanding within the government that this work is needed and commitment within government to have the strategy set out. The core ministries involved are Environment and Climate Change Strategy; Tourism Arts, Culture, and Sport; and Forests. There are also several internal committees with other ministries and deputy involvement. ADMs in 6 ministries are committed to the process.
- They are also committed to aligning outdoor recreation to UNDRIP and DRIPA.
- The strategy will inform policy change and may lead to regulatory or legislative change.
- The format of the following session may change based on what they are hearing.
- We can expect to hear back about these sessions once they are all completed (after September).
As mentioned above, there are still 3 sessions to go. We encourage you to attend one and share your experiences, ideas, and hopes for the future of outdoor recreation.