Comprehensive Plan Draft soon to be revealed

Dear Community, The Columbia Valley Park and Recreation District (CVPRD) is excited to share their recent work to create a Comprehensive Plan Draft. A Comprehensive Plan lays out important details of the community served as well as the plan for the districts’ work over the next three to six years based on demand and need.

Creating a comprehensive plan is a big project which typically costs forty thousand dollars or more paid to a specialized contractor. But, unfortunately,  this was a problem. The CVPRD, since formation in 2017, has been unfunded. Even so, commissioners knew this was an important step for a newly created district; funding or no funding. By having this document new opportunities would open up including a more engaged community park design.

Unfunded, but also undaunted (OK, maybe a little daunted), the board of commissioners began work on a comprehensive plan draft in 2019 using guiding documents and other comp plans as models. In addition to the internal energy and commitment from these local volunteers, the CVPRD received essential support and technical assistance from the Whatcom County Health Department’s East Whatcom Specialist, Aly Robinson. 

Then, in January 2020, the CVPRD began work with Western Washington University’s Sustainable Communities. The idea, however, began in late 2019 when Lindsey McDonald, office of Sustainability Director, reached out to look toward the future of collaboration with East Whatcom community efforts. Amongst other opportunities, Lindsey learned the board of commissioners had been meeting monthly to work on the Comprehensive Plan Draft. As a staunch believer in community driven work, she saw how WWU support of local volunteers to create this plan could be both a real world learning opportunity for students as well as a way of creating long lasting improved health in the community.

It was determined some seed funding would be needed to help lift this effort and so Lindsey secured a grant from First Federal for the project. The funds supported a graduate student, Sarah Parker, joining the work in the Summer of 2020 alongside a class of students studying with Tammi Laninga in the Fall (more about this in a future post!). And in May, during the first few months of the pandemic, work was done by Lindsey with Aly and CVPRD volunteer commissioners to clarify the scope of the work. 

Now, as we roll towards the end of 2020, arguably, one of the most formidable worldwide in written history, we will soon be sharing the draft CVPRD Comprehensive Plan for our community to offer their essential input. And, while it is true, this work is new and challenging in the best of times (none of us are a specialized contractor) we unreservedly acknowledge it is especially hard against the back drop of many painful losses, current crisis, and an uncertain future.

With years of small steps behind us and many which strive forward into the future, it has never been more true that the CVPRD is here to offer this effort thanks to so many. The CVPRD is incredibly grateful for the work of the community volunteers, neighbors, voters, and our partners who have made this task achievable. This is no small thing.

Please stay tuned for an invitation to a public presentation of the CVPRD Comprehensive Plan draft on Wednesday October 14th at 6PM over Zoom during the Columbia Valley Community Connections Meeting.

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