Greenways Coldstream Active Transportation photo Paved, separated pathways are being sought in Coldstream.

Paved paths sought

Greenways Coldstream Active Transportation loves what’s being done but wants more

Coldstream may be on track with projects such as the Kidston Road pathway, but increased safe transportation options are being urged.

“People love what’s been done but we want more,” said Tera Mezynski, with Greenways Coldstream Active Transportation.

The volunteer group, came out in full force Monday, filling council chambers with close to 20 people, including kids on bikes and in chariots and active parents and individuals.

“We all know that active transportation is important,” said Mezynski, noting the numerous health benefits for all ages.

While several paths and trails already exist in the community, what this group is proposing is greenways, which are separated, multi-use, paved trails which separate cyclists and pedestrians from motorists.

The group even did a survey in the community, which 183 residents filled out.

“Eighty-one per cent of these people would be willing to walk or bike if there was a separated walkway,” said Mezynski, adding: “86 per cent of parents said they would have their kids walk or bike to school if there was a safe option.

“If we perceive the roads to be safer we’re much more likely to be out there using them.”

But, the reality is that enough people are out there riding their bikes, walking or using another active mode of transportation because they do not feel safe.

“We’re actually failing when it comes to active transportation,” she said.

Realizing that these things do cost money, the survey also shows that 95 per cent are willing to pay more taxes if they are dedicated to active living.

“In Coldstream, the average income is $21,000 more than those in Vernon and house costs are $79,000 more. Yet Coldstream does pay lower taxes,” said Mezynski.

Coun. Peter McClean pointed out that such trails cost a lot – it’s $1 million just to install a sidewalk. And that a one per cent tax increase only represents $50,000.

“There’s two areas of concern,” said McClean. “It’s the financial impact and most of the roads aren’t wide enough so there’s land acquisition that’s needed.”

The group is not expecting any progress overnight and just want the district to start putting funds aside.

“We hope to start it in baby steps. Even if it’s a 20-year project,” said Mezynski, also suggesting a committee be formed which members of the group could serve on.

Mayor Jim Garlick said council would consider the committee but also noted the uphill battle Coldstream had just trying to get the Kidston Road pathway completed.

“It takes time and some creativity,” said Garlick, adding that efforts are ongoing and the district is looking doing a section on Coldstream Creek Road this year.