Cycle 16 is working towards an off-road, non-motorized trail between Smithers and Telkwa. (File photo)

Cycle 16 is working towards an off-road, non-motorized trail between Smithers and Telkwa. (File photo)

Cycle 16 making progress on trail between Smithers and Telkwa

Society establishes a memorandum of understanding with regional district and hires a project manager

The wheels are turning for Cycle 16 Trail Society’s plans to build a paved path from Smithers to Telkwa.

The trail will be off Highway 16 along the Ministry of Transportation right-of-way. At the Smithers end, it is planned to go along the west side of the highway. Around the halfway mark, it will cross the highway with a bridge or underpass and follow the east side of the highway to Telkwa. The project will be done in phases with the first phase beginning at the Bulkley River bridge by the Riverside RV Park and ending at Laidlaw Rd.

Group President Tony Harris said there has been a lot of progress recently.

The society has secured a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako for ownership of the trail because the society can’t own it.

“That has been a big hurdle but it isn’t a done deal,” said Harris.

The second major update is that they’ve now hired a manager for the project. Allan Kindrat, Project Engineer at WSP in Canada will take the reigns.

The society is now trying to figure out maintenance costs and is hoping the RDBN, Town of Smithers and Village of Telkwa will share those with each jurisdiction taking care of a certain percentage with possibly some businesses also helping out. However, all of those details still need to be worked out.

Harris is also happy with the progress the membership drive has had. There are now more than 900 members with a goal of 1,000.

The society recently made a presentation to Telkwa Council asking for support to apply for a grant. The PlanH Healthy Communities Grant Program requires a municipal body to be the applicant and Telkwa was happy to help.

If successful, the society would receive $15,000. Director Janet Harris said they would use the funds to further engage the public by creating videos of users of the trail and how it would benefit the Bulkley Valley. They would also like to have some transportation and cycling stories written.