Several provincial parks in the East Kootenay will undergo infrastructure improvements this year due to BC Parks receiving a $3 million boost to its capital budget — a 27 per cent increase over last year.

“While almost 20 million people visit BC Parks every year, we want to encourage even more people to get out and enjoy B.C.’s spectacular parks; one way of doing that is to invest more money in infrastructure,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake in a media release.

Across the province, 120 improvement projects in 89 parks have been identified through facility assessments, regional tourism trends, park satisfaction surveys and staff discussions, while a number are still in the tendering process.

For the entire Kootenay region, $1.8 million has been designated for projects in nine parks. Included for the East Kootenay will be a water system upgrade to ensure drinkable water standards at James Chabot Provincial Park located 2 kilometres from Invermere’s town centre, a water system and intake reconstruction at Alces Lake campground in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park located 22 km southeast of the Village of Canal Flats, and a water and campground refurbishment at Wasa Lake Provincial park located 40 km north of Cranbrook.

Completion of the projects is dependent on weather and availability of labour, said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment.

Overall, $6.71 million has been allocated to improving the infrastructure of provincial parks in the Interior. Parks in the South Coast region (Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast) will receive $2.38 million for infrastructure upgrades, while those on the West Coast (Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii) will receive $2.23 million with $2.66 million going towards park projects up north.

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