COQUITLAM, B.C., June 22, 2021 – Coquitlam is seeking a voice in the development of the first management plan for Pinecone Burke Provincial Park – a massive wilderness along the City’s northeast border and Burke Mountain neighbourhoods.
Council-in-Committee supported staff’s recommendation to pursue meaningful City involvement in the park management plan being developed by BC Parks and Katzie First Nation. The draft plan is scheduled for completion and stakeholder comment this year.
City efforts will include seeking a meeting with B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and promoting the park’s vast potential for community–led recreation, sustainable nature-based tourism and regional prosperity.
A Vast Wilderness Area at Coquitlam’s Doorstep
Established in 1995, Pinecone Burke Provincial Park (PBPP) is 38,000 hectares (nearly 94,000 acres) in size – more than 90 times the size of Stanley Park. The park lies north of Coquitlam, west of Pitt Lake and south of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
The PBPP is a wilderness that protects stunning old growth forests, alpine lakes, rugged terrain and remnant ice fields, and is enjoyed by few. Lacking an approved management plan, it has no facilities (e.g. parking or washrooms), limited wayfinding, maintenance or access other than trails developed over time and maintained by experienced backcountry users, local associations and volunteers.
Most of the access is through Coquitlam; the park and its trails are already an attraction for the fast-growing Tri-Cities, and will be walking distance from the planned Burke Mountain Village, a vibrant commercial and social hub anticipated to begin development within the next few years.
With its proximity to Metro Vancouver, Coquitlam City Centre and transit, the park has immense potential to become a world-class destination for outdoor adventure, recreation and sustainable nature-based tourism. Given the impact of the pandemic, it could also become a crucial trigger for economic development for the surrounding communities, region and province.
Representing Local Interests in Park Planning
Coquitlam’s last formal opportunity for input in the PBPP management plan’s development was in 2014 during the public consultation phase.
Seven years later, with completion of the draft plan now in sight, the City is pursuing meaningful and up-to-date involvement with the intent of preventing potential environmental challenges and conflicts related to the park’s proximity to residents, ensuring alignment with its neighbourhood and trail plans, and harnessing opportunities related to park servicing, nature-based tourism, community economic development, partnerships with stakeholders and funding sources.
With the go-ahead from Committee yesterday, the City will begin to actively advocate for greater engagement in the PBPP management planning process by:
- Requesting a meeting with Minister Heyman at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention to discuss opportunities for cooperation and mutual support of the park management planning process;
- Developing a vision linking Burke Mountain and the PBPP as a destination for outdoor recreation and sustainable tourism, with potential hospitality spinoffs and connections to City parks, trails, neighbourhoods and transportation; and
- Initiating talks with BC Parks, Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism BC, and community-based groups to identify valuable projects to enhance visitor experience along with funding and implementation strategies.
Manager Economic Development
City of Coquitlam