Aerial adventure course and zipline proposed for White Rock park

City to schedule public consultation meeting for WildPlay Element Parks plan

The City of White Rock will seek public input on a new proposal to establish a zipline and aerial adventure course at Centennial Park and the adjacent Ruth Johnson Park.

The proposal from Wildplay Elements Parks calls for the development of the top third of the forested area of Ruth Johnson Park to accommodate, among other attractions, a free-fall jump platform and a zipline around the perimeter of the proposal area.

At its Jan. 27 regular meeting, council voted to receive a report on the proposal, and direct staff to schedule a public consultation meeting.

The vote followed an earlier special meeting in which Wildplay CEO Tom Benson and vice-president of development Robert Kemp introduced the idea to council.

WildPlay specializes in adventure recreation facilities for children, youth and adults in forested areas and ravines, with parks currently operating in Nanaimo, Victoria, Maple Ridge, Kelowna, Niagara Falls and several U.S. locations.

READ ALSO: City of White Rock continues to pose $13 million question

According to a report to council from engineering and municipal operations manager Jim Gordon, the company’s usual business model is to create a 10- to 15-year lease with each city that covers everything from lease rates, insurance and hours of operation to sustainability practices.

The report said that environmental implications of the proposal could include removal of invasive species during installation of the facilities, while revenue from the operation could help pay for further removal as well as restoration of trails and pathways and aging infrastructure, which would minimize erosion into water courses.

The elevation of the facilities would allow continued public access on the forest floor, and existing public uses would continue, Gordon said.

The company could assist with improvements to existing parking and could arrange additional parking with nearby churches and residents, he suggested, as well as encouraging carpooling and use of transit to visit the facility.

In addition to providing lease revenues, Gordon said, the proposed facility would encourage greater physical activity for residents, integrating with the recently-established Generations Playground in Centennial Park, and also promote tourism and increased visits to the city that would have spin-off benefits to local businesses.

He added the company has said it would work with the city and other stakeholders to identify the best location and mix of products to emphasize existing natural features, and to take into account responsible stewardship and environmental concerns.

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