If the Town of Golden Council gives the go-ahead, work on an area trail system will be on track to move forward.
At the Feb. 16 Columbia Shuswap Regional District board meeting, directors agreed unanimously to support the allocation of $35,000 from the Golden and Area A Economic Opportunity Fund (EOF) for 2023.
Pending Golden Council’s approval, board members also supported a further annual allocation of $35,000 from the fund for both 2024 and 2025, to go towards the operation of the Golden and Area A Trail Alliance.
Approval is also subject to the availability of sufficient funds in the Economic Opportunity Fund within the five-year plan, along with receipt of the annual payment from BC Hydro in lieu of taxes.
Secondly, Ryan Nitchie, team leader of community services, asked directors to empower the regional district to enter into an agreement with LARCH Landscape Architecture for the provision of executive and administrative services to the Golden and Area A Trail Alliance over a three-year term beginning March 1, 2023.
The annual cost of the contract would be $29,980 plus applicable taxes and include an annual increase in accordance with the B.C. Consumer Price Index in years two and three, subject to funding approval from the Golden and Area A Economic Opportunity Fund.
In 2017 Phil McIntyre-Paul, then executive-director of the Shuswap Trail Alliance, worked with several key groups in Golden and Area A to create a regional trails strategy.
The number-one recommendation was to create the Golden and Area Trail Alliance, says Nitchie.
CSRD acted on that recommendation and partnered with Jason Jones of Larch Landscape Architecture, who wrote the regional trail strategy and was happy to take on the role of executive director of the Golden and Area A Trail Alliance, he said.
“Substantial progress was made initiating the Trail Alliance and key performance goals and objectives were successfully met, however, the Trail Alliance efforts were furloughed at the expiration of the contract in February 2022 given uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Nitchie in his Feb. 16 report to the board. “Staff elected to temporarily pause the initiative with the expectation of resuming the project as soon as possible pending updated funding approval.”
A revised work plan and cost proposal was received from LARCH in November 2022 with the goal of resuming the initiative in 2023.
Subject to funding approval from the Town of Golden Council and the CSRD Board, an agreement will be developed and endorsed with LARCH Landscape Architecture to administer and operate the Golden and Area A Trail Alliance organization.
Nitchie says the community has trails they want to create and the regional district will be working on a 7.3 km parallel trail project that will run from Golden to Nicholson.
“We have already completed a feasibility and design plan for it,” he says. “The next steps are to have meetings with key stakeholders from Golden and Nicholson before having conversations with Ministry of Transport staff to determine feasibility of the project.”
Area A director Karen Cathcart is delighted the project will move forward if Golden Council gives their approval at its March 7 meeting.
“This again, is a CSRD-led initiative that has been the catalyst to create the infrastructure that has been able to bring all the recreational groups together to work to create more trails,” she said. “It’s the number-one reason people come to our community and I want to make sure it continues and moves forward.”
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