A map showing the possible routes for the Smithers-Telkwa trail.

Smithers-Telkwa trail gets engineering and website grant

Multi-use non-motorized trail to include bridge over Hwy 16.

It would be easy in this day and age to fall to a level of negativity that we often encounter in the press and let it give us the feeling that nothing we do is going to change anything. The news reports we see seem to be nothing and we can feel the frigid winter approaching with its short days and long nights.

We’re luck to live in an area which has more than a few positive characters who are doing their best to improve our lives no matter how long it might take or challenging the task may be.

Tony Harris is one of those individuals who makes you know that life is good and that with a little effort and vision, it can be even better.

Harris has been involved with the Cycle 16 trail initiative since its inception and knows that the concept of a safe bicycle trail from Telkwa to Smithers won’t be an overnight project. That said, the group keeps growing as more people become aware of the project and want to help in some way.

Last week one hurdle was overcome as the Village of Telkwa and the Cycle 16 Trail Society found out that the application which they tendered to the British Columbia Alliance of Healthy Living to look at detailed engineering drawings and website development had been approved for the full amount requested of $60,000.

Harris was more than pleased with that result but he knows that the project still has a long way to go.

While the original idea may have been simply to develop a cycle trail between Smithers and Telkwa, the actual name of the project goes a bit further. The Smithers to Telkwa Multi-Use Trail will provide a safe, year-round method of traversing between the two communities.

One of the major hazards of the trek is crossing Highway 16. Harris said that the plan will be to have a bridge to cross that busy road and eliminate the dangers to both cyclists and drivers.

With so many residents of the two communities commuting back and forth, it will be a welcome change. While summer daylight hours provide a nice ride, the increased darkness of spring, fall, and winter bring much danger, to the point where fewer people are willing to take the risk.

Harris said that a number of different options have been considered for the crossing and that the bridge over the highway is considered to be the safest.

Other options included a tunnel under the highway or a crosswalk, both of which would create their own dangers.

Harris said that other communities have created such trails with very positive results.

As far as support from the community goes, he’s more than confident that the locals will step up and do whatever is necessary. He noted the work that has been done by groups such as cross-country skiing and mountain biking, among others, to develop venues for their activities. He also feels that with the level of basic activity demonstrated by so many local residents, the trail will become a welcome addition.

While one area which has had some challenge has been that of acquiring access some properties that the trail might come in contact with, he feels that in time these can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.

 

Tony Harris of Cycle 16 has been busy working on developing a plan for a multi-use trail between Telkwa and Smithers. Tom Best photo

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