In applying the formulas found in the white paper “Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System” developed by The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence(2003) to the Mary Lake property it is possible to calculate the real monetary value of the various benefits the park will bring to the Highlands District and Capital Regional District.
The community economic benefits of the Mary lake Nature Park are multiple. Environmental Services Recreational direct use Human Health
Environmental Services Based on estimates from the international Ecosystem Service Value Database (ESVD) that gives monetary valuations for 22 services provided by 10 distinct biomes. The many services include water purification and management, air quality, etc. The 3 major ecosystems Inland Wetlands, Rivers & Lakes, and Temperate Forests found on the property provide services with an economic value of$280,000 per year.
Recreational Use The economic value of direct use of parkland is being recognized by municipalities around the world and a calculator has been developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A conservative value of $1.91 for general park use such as walking, picnics, and sitting would give Mary Lake Park a value of $2101 per week if used by 50% of the Highlands residents once a week. For 9 months of the year the value totals = $78,636 per year
For the Capital Regional District we could easily double these figures to include visitors outside the community = $151,272 per year
Use Benefits Table produced by B.C. Parks, 1993 shows day use as being valued at $30.90 per person
Human Health The link between parks and human health is being built up across many research areas and nations, with an economic value also attributable to that health. In one study after identifying the common types of medical problems that are inversely related to physical activity, such as heart disease and diabetes, they created the calculator based on studies in seven different states that show a $250 cost difference between those who exercise regularly and those who don’t. For people over the age of 65, the value is $500 because seniors typically incur two or more times the medical care costs of younger adults. (Parks Health Benefits Calculator- Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System: Published by the Trust for Public Land)
Based on approx. 1650 residents under 65 years of age and 550 residents 65 yrs or older and using only a 50% use average the cost benefits for health related costs would be $206,205 < 65 yrs and $137,500 > 65 years Total Economic Value related to Health is $343,705 per year
The total Economic value of the above benefits that are provided by creating a nature park that protects important ecosystems is $774,977 per year