The Trans Canada Trail could be seeing pavement as early as 2017 if a grant application to the provincial government is successful.
The club applied for $154,000 in funding from the B.C. government’s Rural Dividends Fund. The group has also secured $100,000 in gas tax funding from the regional district, and $100,000 from Recreation Sites and Trails BC.
Chris Moslin, president of the community trails society, said the upgrades are long overdue.
“[Area D Director] Roly Russell is committed to seeing it paved to Whitehall Road,” Moslin said. “A lot of the money we have to spend is to repair the crushed [gravel] surface that we put down 10 years ago. Let’s get on it.”
If the grant application is successful, the portion of the trail to Whitehall Road will be paved; however, the society won’t know until September if that is the case.
Tennessee Trent, trails manager with Recreation Sites and Trails BC, said the grant will make the trail much more accessible overall.
“It is part of our capital improvements program,” he said. “The upgrades are for surfacing, to make it more attractive for cycling use, to create options for active transportation for communities, and to develop opportunities for destination tourism around rail trails cycling.”
Moslin said there will be upgrades to the trails this year, in part because of the grant received from Recreation Sites and Trails BC.
“At a minimum this year, new gates and signage, and repairs will happen to the entire trail to Christina Lake,” Moslin said. “There are a couple places where drainage is an issue, where culverts have to be reset, so the trail doesn’t flood or erode away.”
If the trail is paved, the section will feature a parallel bridle path for horses to ensure they stay off the pavement but still have access, Moslin said.
“The paving might not actually happen until 2017, but the intent is to get it paved … this becomes an improvement to the commuter corridor, the cycling corridor,” he said.
Trent said the upgrades will carry on over the next couple years, and that Recreation Sites and Trails BC made the investment in part because it will last.
“We justified the investment based on, in part, that a non-motorized use designation was something [the community] wanted to pursue,” he said.
Moslin said the paved section of the trail will be completely non-motorized in order to keep it in top condition.
“That’s why the money is going to be spent, it is being declared non-motorized. We can’t get money to repair the surface if it is motorized, that is the struggle,” he said.