The Valleyview Nature Park in Kamloops offers the residents of the city a very different type of park. The Valleyview nature park has trails that are mainly out in the open and high above on the silt buffs of Valleyview. This park is right beside the Kamloops Bike Ranch, so there are always riders on the trails. Even though the park does not have multiple trails compared to other parks in Kamloops like Kenna Cartwright or Peterson Creek, the trails of Valleyview Nature Park are unique and are somewhat less visited by residents who wish to explore. The Rim Loop is one very specific and famous trail of the park among the visitors, mainly because of the view it provides from high above the silt cliffs.
Many residents claim that the variety of trails allows them to discover the hidden beauty of the Kamloops in this somewhat small and uncrowded park. Even though there are no streets surrounding the park, it can be reached if driven along the Highland Road. Residents from Valleyview Drive would have somewhat easy access to it as the park is located south and adjacent to the street (Hike Kamloops, 2020). This article has attempted to evaluate and estimate the value and the value of the ecosystem services provided by this approximate 80.7 hectares park to the local community.
For the purpose of the evaluation, 20 adjacent properties to the park were evaluated using data from BC Assessment and the descriptive statistics of the respective 20 residential houses are provided in Table 1 (BC Assessment, 2022). As seen in Table 1, the land value and building value of adjacent residential houses are estimated to have an average of $317,000 and $341,000 respectively. The hedonic pricing valuation method from (Sutton and Anderson, 2016) was used to assess the land value of the 20 adjacent residential properties next to Valleyview Nature Park. According to (ESVD, 2022) the ecosystem services provided by urban parks are estimated to be approximately CND 138,000/Ha/year. Given the size of Valleyview Nature Park, which is approximately 80.7 hectares, the park should provide ecosystem services amounting to $11.14 million per year to the community. According to Table 1, the average land value per hectare is estimated to be $2.2 million. These figures thus give the land value of the park to be approximately $177.54 million. Therefore, the social return or social yield arising from the park is 6.2% per year which is higher than Sutton and Anderson, (2016). According to (Boardman et al., 2010), the social discount rate for benefits to be observed within the 50 years is assumed to be 3.5%. Thus, selling the park, most likely below its market value of $177.5 million, and investing the proceeds in public projects yielding a 3.5% as per the social discount rate is not recommended as the social return is 6.2% much higher than the 3.5% social discount rate. Furthermore, the community would be sacrificing social benefits in exchange for private benefits which would be rejected in a referendum. Removing the park from public use, at a lower price than $177.54 million, and replaced by about 300 residential properties given the size of the park of 80.7 ha and the average size of 0.26 ha per residential property in the vicinity of the park would not be a wise decision.
Table 1: Descriptive statistics of 20 residential houses by Valleyview Nature Park
|Land Value per Ha||$2,202,943||$1,279,423||$195,581||$1,356,877||$2,157,280||$2,967,590||$4,677,250|
Discussion and Conclusion
Recreation and culture are two important ecosystem services provided by urban parks (ESVD, 2022). City environments are stressful for the inhabitants and so the recreational features of the urban parks are termed as one of the highest valued ecosystem services provided by them, especially in cities. Urban parks have manifold possibilities for recreation which enhances human health and well-being. Urban parks also play an important role as providers of aesthetic and psychological benefits that can enrich human lives with meanings and emotions. These benefits from urban green spaces are known to reduce stress and increase physical as well as mental health. (Gómez-Baggethun E. et al., 2013). The residents of these neighborhoods have easy access to Valleyview Nature Park which is famous for bike riding and hiking for all its trails. Most of the houses were built around the 1970s and the lands were on average a size of 0.26 hectares. The average land value of the adjacent properties was estimated to be around $2.2 million per hectare. It can be observed that Valleyview Nature Park is seen as a form of capital that the residents want to preserve for Kamloops, especially because of the benefits it provides. The recreational and cultural ecosystem services it provides are considered to be a public good, that is they are non-rival and non-excludable and thus provide aesthetic values to the citizens of the city. The land value around the parks was seen to be ranging from $193 thousand to $419 thousand for the properties used in this study. The study hence leads to the suggestion, that the authorities of the city should definitely not only take into account the market and economic benefits of the Valleyview Nature Park, but also the costs and benefits associated with the residential capitals nearby, and most importantly, the major environmental, recreational and cultural losses that could occur to the city if the park is not preserved. Thus it can be stated that the ecosystem services provided by Valleyview Nature Park are indeed tangible services, and they also tend to have a direct effect on the residential houses, the land values, and the building values nearby. These services are hence providing economic incentives for further conservation of the Valleyview Nature Park.
Kamloops is named “The Tournament Capital of Canada” and “Nature’s Playground” as it consists of outdoor activities for every individual. Starting from Professional Mountain biking to hiking, the city calls adventurers in every season. It has trails for hiking and walking on all levels as the entire city is built of a wave of hills, and Valleyview Nature Park as discussed above plays a major role in what the city provides (Hodgins, 2016). As the park has a valuation of approximately $177 million and provides ecosystem services between $8.88 – 11.14 million per year as in the (Sutton & Anderson, 2016)’s 5% annual return and the (ESVD, 2022) assessment. Further research must be carried out to further validate or evaluate these results. One of the more accurate ways for further assessment could be the Travel Cost Method. The data collected from the Travel Cost Survey could help the city develop its park and trail maintenance plans and priorities, and could also assist to provide data that are used to apply for grant funding. However, as the article suggests, the city should focus on the development and maintenance of its parks, and Valleyview Nature Park must be one of them.
BC Assessment – Independent, uniform and efficient property assessment. Bcassessment.ca. (2022). https://www.bcassessment.ca/.
Boardman, A., Moore, M., & Vining, A. (2010). The Social Discount Rate for Canada Based on Future Growth in Consumption. Canadian Public Policy. https://doi.org/10.3138/cpp.36.3.325
Gómez-Baggethun E. et al. (2013) Urban Ecosystem Services. In: Elmqvist T. et al. (eds) Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7088-1_11
Hike Kamloops. (2020, November 22). Valleyview Nature Park. Hike Kamloops. Retrieved from Hike Kamloops: https://hikekamloops.ca/valleyview-nature-park/
Hodgins, A. K. (2016, January 11). Hometown Series: A Spotlight on Kamloops. Retrieved from British Columbia Magazine: https://www.bcmag.ca/hometown-series-a-spotlight-on-kamloops/
ESVD. Esvd.net. (2022). https://www.esvd.net/esvd
Sutton, P., & Anderson, S. (2016). Holistic valuation of urban ecosystem services in New York City’s Central Park. Ecosystem Services, 88-91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.04.003