Work by community groups has helped create a new trail that links Lake Country residents to central amenities with more safety and convenience.
The 800-metre trail is now open at the north end of Newene Road, running southwest along Highway 97. It connects to a large and growing residential area along Eva and Pretty roads, providing a scenic link to schools, businesses, parks and facilities without the need to commute by vehicle.
“There were very limited mobility options connecting the Pretty Road neighbourhood to Lake Country’s town centre,” said Steve Petryshyn landscape technician for the District of Lake Country. “This project really identified a corridor that could be used as a trail to provide those better mobility options.”
Volunteers with Walk Around Lake Country (WALC) led the project, with funding and additional volunteer support from Lake Country Rotary Club and further support from the District of Lake Country.
The trail is a safer option for students walking to George Elliot Secondary School, as it connects to the Berry Road intersection with Highway 97 without the need to walk along the busy Okanagan Centre Road East.
“One of the issues that we were seeing was a lot of students taking informal routes in that area down to the highway and crossing where there was no intersection,” Petryshyn said.
Sandy Wightman, president of the Lake Country Rotary Club, said students and residents are already taking advantage of the trail. And with a new middle school set to open next door in 2021, the trail will soon be even more relied upon.
With a $10,000 grant from the Rotary club and other funding sources, WALC contributed one-third of the project’s $45,000 cost. The group also committed volunteer time that went into planning the trail route, assisting contractors and working on the trail itself.
“That’s really important. It’s not just the funds, it’s actually getting out there,” Petryshyn said. “It’s just a great example of a community group initiative that the district was able to help support.”
Walk Around Lake Country promotes hiking and walking in the district through a number of projects, and is an Okanagan Rail Trail ambassador.
For more information on the Lake Country Rotary club, visit lakecountryrotary.ca.