Vihar construction conduct geotechnical work required for detailed construction design drawings for a proposed cycling trail between Smithers and Telkwa. (Contributed photo)

Vihar construction conduct geotechnical work required for detailed construction design drawings for a proposed cycling trail between Smithers and Telkwa. (Contributed photo)

The survey says: Cycle 16 project enjoys widespread support

Ninety-seven per cent of the 588 respondents were in favour of a Telkwa-Smithers bike trail

Work on a proposed bicycle trail between Telkwa and Smithers continued last week in preparation for the detailed construction design phase of the project .

Last week, engineers dug 22 test holes along the proposed route of the trail, part of geotechnical work required to begin detailed construction design drawings.

Tony Harris, Cycle 16 president, said they expect that phase of the project to commence soon.

Last week, Cycle 16, the society trying to build a non-motorized trail between Smithers and Telkwa, released survey results it says show broad support for the project.

The survey conducted over the summer indicated 97 per cent of its 588 respondents were in favour of the trail and 78 per cent believed it would support them in choosing non-motorized travel more often.

The project also enjoys considerable political support.

Earlier this year, the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako entered into a memorandum of understanding that would see the district own and operate the trail once constructed.

Both Smithers and Telkwa have also expressed support for the project. Smithers council already has a respresentative (Coun. Greg Brown) on the Cycle 16 board and the society is expected to make a request for a Telkwa representative at the Village’s regular council meeting Nov. 10.

Also, during an all-candidates debate during the recent provincial general election, all four Stikine candidates expressed unreserved enthusiasm for the project.

Nathan Cullen, the eventual winner of the riding said money has already been earmarked for projects like this and promised to help the society get the grants it needs.

Survey respondents were overwhelmingly residents of the Bulkley Valley with 55 per cent saying they live in Smithers, 27 per cent in Regional District Area A and 14 per cent from Telkwa.

One of the four per cent identified as visitors said, “When travelling, a cycle trail is a big attraction to spending more time in the area.”

Most respondents (94 per cent) said they would use the trail for cycling, while 63 per cent would walk or run on it, 24 per cent use E-bikes and 15 per cent strollers.

The number one overall benefit of the trail was to address safety concerns and the biggest motivation for using it would be for fun, the survey results indicated.

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