A family park that used to look more like a landfill than a campground has received a major overhaul and has reopened after being closed for three years.
Residents who participated in a Beaver Valley survey last year, identified Marsh Creek Park as a place that needed attention and in response the site has been given a makeover.
“What people can expect now is a different looking park because the road has been all graded and graveled, the sites were not cleaned up for 20 years, so it looks totally different now as far as the campsite goes,” said Gary Robitaille, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s recreation and facilities manager.
Technically called the Beaver Valley Family Park, the recreational area was built by the Beaver Valley Outdoorsmen in the early 1970s. The lease on the provincial land was eventually turned over to the regional district, which depended on live-in caretaker Abel Laberge to manage the site. The late Laberge died three years ago and though his wife and extended family tried to carry on the work, health and family issues intervened.
“He was our MacGyver,” laughed Robitaille. “He fixed everything with a bale of hay – he got stuff from here and stuff from there – and had his own way of doing things.”
“Now that the situation has changed, we’re going to put some money into it and I think this is the beginning of a new era for the park.”
The regional district’s Beaver Valley Recreation, Parks and Trails Committee have budgeted about $40,000 for park improvements.
New signs and gates have been brought onto the site, which received electrical and water restoration and upgrades to its washroom facilities.
The 24-campground site also boasts additional open space for RV campers or tenters and Robitaille hopes to one day get an electrical upgrade to cater to those looking for more power then running lights or a television in their mobile home.
The site includes a small kitchen, covered picnic area, a basketball court and volleyball net and a little playground.
“The residents of the Beaver Valley have given us a clear direction to maintain what green space we have and that’s very doable within our budget that we have,” said Area A director Ali Grieve. “Creating new parks is not likely in the future, but keeping clean and green what we have is doable and a priority for us.”
After completing a dangerous tree assessment, 50 trees were removed from the site, along with brush cleared from the grounds.
“Taking the dangerous trees out, certainly from a liability point of view, is probably something that could have been done a while ago but we’ve done it now so that’s a good thing,” said Grieve. “I think it ended up being a party corner at one point and it ended up being quite a mess and that’s our responsibility, too, to keep it clean and well-maintained.”
Campers can stay for $15 a night in the “dry camping” area, without power, or spend $20 to park their RV for a night.
The park can be located north of Fruitvale by following Highway 3B and taking a left on Marsh Creek Road.