Princeton council votes to open parts of KVR to motorized vehicles

Sections of the KRV trail through Princeton will be opened next year to off road vehicles, following a unanimous vote by town council Monday night.

However, there will be no continuous pass through the community, owing to a decision by two provincial ministries to keep ATVs and other motorized vehicles off the short stretch of land passing underneath the Highway 3 bridge.

“I’m pleased with what happened tonight,” said Ed Vermette, president of the Princeton ATV Club and chair of the adhoc trail committee formed by council last fall.

However he admitted: “it’s not exactly what we were hoping for.”

Related: Petition fights ATV bylaw

According to CAO Lyle Thomas, who prepared a series of trail recommendations for council to consider, the sections of trail – from the tunnel to just before Subway and from Rainbow Lake to an area near Two Rivers Park – will open in the spring.

The project is a trial, he said, for one year and town staff will monitor the results.

“There’s a bit of work to be done in preparation,” including creating signage and developing a code of conduct and ethics for trail use.

The trail will be open to motorized vehicles only during daylight hours.

Use of the KVR has been a contentious issue in the community since 2011, when council declared the Princeton section of the KVR, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail, non-motorized.

In 2015 a different council passed a bylaw making it illegal to operate motorized vehicles on the trail. It was a decision which sparked organized protests including a petition and a rally outside council chambers with hundreds of off road enthusiasts attending.

Trail use was a much-debated issue in the 2018 municipal election, and one of the current council’s first acts was to strike a trail committee to explore multi-use trail options.

Related: Princeton council strikes committee to explore motorized vehicles on the KVR

Thomas said finding a trail solution was difficult “knowing there are two sides to the story.”

Before the motion was passed Monday, councillors received and filed a petition with 88 signatures to keep the trail non-motorized, presented in June by former councillor and local restaurateur Jerome Tjerkstra.

“This was interpreted by staff that there are still two very passionate sides to this topic,” Thomas acknowledged.

Related: Former councillor has harsh words for Princeton mayor and trail committee

Thomas said staff was taken by surprise when it was learned they would not be able to connect the sections of trail by using the Highway 3 bridge underpass.

“We didn’t full grasp that at first,” he said. “When we came to the underpass we wanted to review our license of occupation and when you read our licence…it comes to Highway 3 and stops and then starts on the other side.”

Both the transportation and forestry ministries were adamant the underpass remain non-motorized.

Related: MLA throws full support behind shared use trails

“They were very clear that they are not interested in granting passage under the bridge,” said Thomas. “They just don’t want it. They are worried about liability and they are worried about erosion.”

The underpass will remain open for walkers, cyclists and horseback riders, he added, and applications can be made to the province to use that part of the trail for special permitted events.

“We will keep going until we see a continuous trail,” said Vermette. “It was squashed tonight but it is not dead. We will continue to lobby.”

Vermette said allowing ATVs into town “is a win for the business community.” The ATV club will work with town staff to organize and pay for prepping the trail for spring.

“We have funding available for this.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Star Quebecois pianist to take the stage in Vernon

Charles Richard-Hamelin will play on Feb. 29, with opening act by local Grade 11 student

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

North Okanagan Knights take on Kelowna Chiefs in playoff preview

The teams will square off for last game of regular season, Round 1 of KIJHL playoffs

Enderby announces plans for $150K ParticipACTION prize money

The city was crowned Canada’s most active community in June 2019

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

Most Read