The District of Elkford is currently undergoing many infrastructure upgrades. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Elkford infrastructure and community updates

Elkford is currently undergoing many changes which have the potential to not only improve the infrastructure of the district, but also the quality of life for all its residents.

The Devonian Playground Project is now officially set in motion after Council approved their support of the remaining funds necessary to kickstart the project.

The total budget put forward for the playground was $190,000, and $130,500 was raised through grants.

“That project I think is an important one for the community because the community has a society of people that have worked hard to get to where they are,” said Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher.

“I used to take my kids, and now my grandkids there,” he added. “Now it’s going to be a better and larger park.”

Council has supported the upgrade of the Devonian building, currently used as a kitchen unit during baseball games. The bathroom section of this building is in desperate need of repair. Council is still deciding whether or not they will repair, or completely replace the building.

The Elkford Aquatic Centre’s exterior walls and windows are currently being replaced due to their age. This project was started in 2016, but the fast-approaching winter caused a delay in construction. The projected completion date is the end of the summer.

The cost of repair for the siding and windows was $300,000.

Three years ago, the mechanical components of the interior were upgraded and replaced, and now the outside will soon be complete as well.

These components were 30 years old, and now that they are refurbished, are projected to last another 30 to 40 before further repairs are necessary.

Elkford’s bike and walking trails recently received a large upgrade, thanks to a $100,000 grant from BikeBC. A new path running parallel to the highway now allows locals to travel without exposure to traffic. CBT provided the District with an additional $50,000 towards the $200,000 project.

This trail is still under construction, but upon completion, will form a complete loop around the entire community.

“People walk that, daily. Right now they’re on the highway,” said Mayor McKerracher.

“I used to walk that every day. And that’s pretty scary because of the traffic in the morning. It’s a busy, busy highway.”

There is potential in the future to have this trail run alongside the golf course, and link up with the path alongside the river dike.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) hold an annual conference which allows municipalities from around the province to bring forth experiences, share insight and “take a united position”.

Discussions developed here by members are carried to other orders of government and other organizations involved in local affairs. Provincial ministers present will also have an opportunity to hear questions and concerns raised by provincial municipalities.

UBCM serves as a “listening post”, reacting to the proposal of changes that could have an effect on local governments and the communities they serve.

Elkford is one of the municipalities attending this conference in September, along with Sparwood and Fernie. Elkford will be coming forth with topics addressing the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of Highways.

“Our current state is good,” said Mayor McKerracher. “Financially we’re very very stable, thanks to many years of prudent management of the money from councils before us.”

Elkford has been debt free for the past 11 years.

“That opens a big door for us,” he added.