Al Harrison was the Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s (RDCO) first full time employee when, in 1969, he was hired as Administrator. In this role Harrison was responsible for aquiring almost all of the regional parks throughout the Central Okanagan, including Lake Country’s Kaloya Park, Reiswig Park and Kopje Park, and the Fintry Estates on the west side of Okanagan Lake. He had a vision of what the region should look like in 50 years and worked to find creative ways to acquire lands for parks.
Kaloya Regional Park was one of the earliest parks purchased by the RDCO. It was purchased on January 10th, 1975 for $200,000 from Overseas Diamond Sales Ltd, a development company.
Kopje Regional Park was purchased from the Broome family in 1987 and much-needed renovations were made to Gibson House on the property.
Reiswig Park was purchased in 1991.
The Fintry Estates property, a landmark site in the Okanagan with its beautiful manor house, was purchased for $7,680,000 and established as a provincial park.
Approximately 24-26 parks were purchased and established during Harrison’s tenure as Administrator. As one enjoys the beautiful parks of the Okanagan one can say that Harrison’s amazing vision was realized.
Al Harrison retired in 1997. Currently the RDCO is attempting to acquire the South Slopes land for a regional park.
Alfred T. Harrison, retired Adminstrator of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) and author of A Look Into the Past, Historial Review of RDCO 1967-2006, was recently interviewed by staff at the Lake Country Museum. The full interview with Al Harrison can be accessed at the Lake Country Museum Archives
Source: Shannon Jorgenson, Manager of the Lake Country Museum.