Cycle 16 broke ground on Phase 1 of the Smithers to Telkwa multi-use trail today (June 10) after seven years of planning, fundraising, approval processes, and consultations with landowners, the municipalities and the regional district.
Construction of Phase 1 from Bulkley River bridge in Smither to Laidlaw Road is expected to be completed this summer. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the entire trail, from Smithers to Telkwa’s Tyhee Market, is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
Tony (found of the Cycle 16 Society) and Janet Harris, who have been instrumental in the project from the very beginning, said they were over the moon that the day had finally come.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, an avid cyclist, flew in from Ottawa for the groundbreaking.
“This trail is another — like the ski trail to town and perimeter trail — that makes our area unique,” he said. “It takes rare people to withstand and persevere to take an idea through all the processes (local, regional and provincial governments) and in this case with landowners as well, to make the idea a reality. Tony and all of Cycle 16 society members never gave up!”
Bachrach added he couldn’t wait to get back to Parliament to “show them what our little slice of northern B.C. has accomplished.
With a generous width of approximately three metres, the paved trail will accommodate a wide variety of users including families with strollers, cyclists, runners, athletes, roller-skiers, roller-bladers and wheelchair users.
The trail will be off the highway along the right-of-way. At the Smithers end, the route follows the west side of the highway. At about midway, it will cross the highway via an underpass and follow the east side of the highway to Telkwa.
The pathway will be owned by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako which has been a keen backer and financial supporter of the project. Also lending a hand has been the provincial transportation ministry.
Total cost of the pathway is estimated at $7 million.
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