Our Region, Our Future Parks!

The Comox Valley is home to beautiful and diverse landscapes that provide valued access to nature. Establishment of regional parks and trails is an opportunity to fill parks service gaps, protect valued areas, and complement the existing community and provincial parks network. As our region continues to grow, it will be important for us to work together to protect regionally-significant natural areas and trails (or “greenways”) in perpetuity.

In 2022, the CVRD formally established a Regional Parks Service. Creating a Regional Parks and Trails Strategic Plan is the next step. This process will be underway between fall 2023 through fall 2024 and will explore questions like:

  • What are the key characteristics and criteria we will use to evaluate opportunities for future regional parks and trails in the Comox Valley?
  • Where are key areas of interest and opportunity?
  • How do we balance different interests (e.g., conservation and recreation)?
  • How do we prioritize and distribute future regional parks and trails across our region?

Creating a successful Regional Parks and Trails Strategic Plan will require broad involvement and community input. Through this process, the CVRD will work with K’ómoks First Nation, the member municipalities, interest groups, and community members. Engagement input will help establish criteria and priorities to guide identification, planning, development, and operation of future regional parks and trails.

Project Updates

Strategic Plan Process Timeline

Project Process Diagram

Community Engagement

Input from a broad cross section of our community will provide valuable insights and identify priorities for the plan. In early 2024 we are planning both in-person and online community engagement opportunities. Subscribe for project updates (see upper right) to receive direct notifications of upcoming engagement opportunities and watch for announcements on social media and in your communities.

Through the Strategic Plan engagement, participants will be invited to:

  • Identify issues and opportunities
  • Discuss key trends influencing regional parks and trails
  • Explore evaluation criteria for future regional parks and trails opportunities
  • Create a vision and goals for the system
  • Identify areas of interest for potential regional park and trails
  • Review directions and priorities for plan recommendations and actions

Former Regional Parks Service:

  • 1971: The former Comox Strathcona Regional District (CSRD) establishes a regional parks service intended to raise funds, secure lands, and develop park management plans.
  • 1970s-90s: This service creates a number of regional parks including Seal Bay Park, Goose Spit Park, and Mount Geoffrey Park.
  • 1992: The process and planning source book "Establishing a Vision for Parks within the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona" is published.
  • Late 1990s: Activity under the regional parks service diminishes and after several years of stagnancy the service goes dormant. The Comox Valley has been without a regional parks function since 1998.
  • February 2008: Following a strategic reorganization process the CSRD is dissolved and replaced by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the Strathcona Regional District (SRD).

Recent Developments:

  • December 2020: The CVRD Board provides direction to undertake a Regional Parks Background Study to explore the potential establishment of a Comox Valley Regional Parks Service. A working group comprised of staff from the Regional District and each of the member municipalities and electoral areas is formed to guide the process. Neilson Strategies is hired to deliver the study.
  • Early 2022: The Regional Parks Background Study is presented to the City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, and CVRD. The study provides information about what regional parks are, why regional parks services are established, service model considerations, and what a regional parks service in the Comox Valley could look like. The study provides context to staff and local government elected officials to make an informed decision on service establishment.
  • Spring 2022: After reviewing the Background Study and hearing from the regional parks working group, each of the region’s Municipal Councils and the CVRD Board expresses their support for establishment of a Regional Parks and Trails Service.
  • September 2022: The Comox Valley Regional District formally establishes a Regional Parks and Trails Service. The Regional Parks and Trails Service Bylaw (No. 719) defines the governance model, funding and operational structures, and regulatory requirements for the service.
  • Spring 2023 - Fall 2024 (current): The CVRD undertakes a process to develop a Regional Parks and Trails Strategic Plan (this process) to support the new service. Lanarc Consultants is hired to deliver the Strategic Plan. The process is planned to run until fall 2024.

Regional parks and trails are meant to be complementary, yet distinct from other types of parks. The graphic below illustrates where regional parks and trails will fit within the spectrum of parks in the Comox Valley today.

  • Community Parks are provided by the CVRD to the electoral areas and by the member municipalities (Town of Comox, City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland) to each respective community. These are focused on meeting local recreational needs of residents and tend to be smaller in size. Some protect natural areas; others provide active or passive recreation opportunities (e.g., playgrounds, sports fields, local walking trails, etc). They serve neighbourhoods and whole communities. Each service is funded independently by its local taxpayers.
  • Regional Parks are intended to complement the other levels of parks in the region, addressing gaps, and focusing on regionally-significant landscapes and recreational opportunities. They tend to be larger than local community parks yet smaller than provincial parks, and are destinations for residents of the entire region, while sometimes drawing visitors from beyond. They offer opportunities to be active but typically have limited facilities. Regional parks and trails are funded by all taxpayers within the CVRD.
  • Provincial Parks are provided by the provincial government. They typically focus on protection and conservation, include large areas, and are destinations that attract visitors from afar. They often include campgrounds, other buildings or facilities, and interpretive services or programs. The service is funded through provincial taxation.

While this plan does not focus on existing parks or trails managed by others (e.g., Community Parks, Provincial Parks), it does consider these great spaces in planning for future regional parks and trails. For an overview of the existing parks landscape in our region, view the following map: Parks & Trails in Our Region Today.

Although our region does not have designated regional parks or regional trails today, there are many existing parkland assets within the region including Community Parks and Provincial Parks. For more information on the different kinds of parkland in our region, see the tab on this page for "The Role of Regional Parks".

Click on the links below to view PDF maps:

MAP 1: Overview of Parklands in our Region

MAP 2: Parklands in the Region Core

Much has been written on the health, environmental, social, and economic benefits of parks in general, and regional parks and trails in particular. Key benefits include:


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Mark Harrison

Manager of Parks, CVRD

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