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LETTERS: Paving is not the issue for regional trails

To the Editor:

Thank goodness the Liberals made a good decision in refusing the application to pave a wonderful artery into nature.  We are not Cranbrook and this is not urban Grand Forks.

Locals, British Columbians and people from all over the world, but especially Europeans, travel to enjoy the amazing experience of walking and biking the rail trail.  They do so to lose themselves in the seemingly endless trail through wilderness,  marvel at the pristine views and just sit resting at the trail’s edge contemplating the flora and inhaling the scents of pines,sweet grasses and wild rose. They recharge. They do not want to inhale asphalt gases nor herbicides.  

The issue is not about whether to pave with asphalt, it is about whether it is necessary to treat the surface at all beyond grading.    

This region has been trying to develop strategies for a sustainable future for its people and environment and for an image to market to the world.  If the Boundary wants to improve its local economy, whether for agricultural products or tourism it must have an integrated model of goals and values. 

It is not good enough to move forward with ad hoc undertakings whether it is a welcoming sign for Grand Forks or somebody’s plan to pave the rail trail.  The secret is to harness the energy of people with initiative and energy but to execute within a vision.

Mr. Longden has been devoted to our trail system but the plot has been lost here.  And Mrs. Perepolkin and her predecessor both voted against the donation of 14 acres of Saddle Mountain bluffs into a park conservancy which was the catalyst for the first ever park function in Area D and the cornerstone of what is hoped to be the first regional park in the this area from Hardy Mountain Road to Reservoir Road.    

Baby boomers must ensure that they do not ruin their legacy to the future in preparing themselves for old age. So many more inspiring projects which can unify the local trail system are still to be done and projects which will attract people to our region both to live and visit. 

And due process must take place to ensure that all stakeholders are included in any significant impacting projects. Chasing free money can be insidious. Planning ahead allows us to have a file full of projects when funding opportunities present themselves.  

Jon Oldroyd

Grand Forks, B.C.