Land politics stall trail progress

A proposed trail has hit a stumbling block, but it may still proceed.

Coldstream and the North Okanagan Regional District can’t agree on who should be responsible for possibly building a connector trail from Lakeview Drive to the Kal Lake lookout.

“The parks function doesn’t include connecting trails in the service. It’s left up to the (individual) jurisdictions to do,” said Jim Garlick, Coldstream mayor.

NORD officials admit that discussions have revolved around the concept.

“There has been a difference of opinion between the regional district and Coldstream over whose jurisdictions that trail is,” said Keith Pinkoski, parks planner.

Garlick is open to NORD taking a look at the issue, but instead of the trail becoming a budget item, there may be an opportunity to pool resources.

“If there is a venue where we can have a conversation about these issues, that (Greater Vernon Advisory Committee) would be the forum for it,” he said.

The Ribbons of Green Trails Society is concerned about the situation over construction.

“It seems obvious, that with good will, there is a political answer to this problem,” said Nicole Kohnert, vice-president, in a letter to NORD. “This in turn should lead to the early construction of this important link.”

Kohnert believes the trail could eventually link to other paths in Greater Vernon.

“Looking into the future, one can imagine that this trail could continue along the rough line of the old highway to Oyama and even along the present two-lane highway to Lake Country,” she said.

Coldstream did not proceed with the project in the 2011 budget.

“When it first came up, it looked like a cheaper and easier job to do,” said Garlick.

“But it’s become more challenging cost-wise and physically.”

Originally, it was believed a low-standard walking trail could be built for about $25,000. However, if the steep hillside must be regraded to accommodate a multi-use path for bicycles, then the cost could be about $75,000.

“My own view is if this is just a walking trail, it’s reasonable for Coldstream to do it, but if it connects to various areas, then it could be considered regional,” said Michael Stamhuis, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer.