Q&A for the Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail
July 3, 2020
Q: So does this grant mean you are done fundraising?
We are never done fundraising! That said, we are now confident we will be able to complete the trail this season.
Q: How much have you raised so far?
A: We have raised over $9.2 Million. This project was much larger than any of us imagined in the beginning. Our cost per KM is reasonable compared to other Trails, and we chose to focus on quality that will last.
Q: Why did the cost go up so much?
A: There were a couple of things we didn’t factor in: a couple of spots on the trail needed more advanced, and expensive engineering solutions to make sure the trail was safe for all. We also didn’t expect the wildfires in summer 2018 – the operational cost of working during that time skyrocketed because we needed more people on site in order to adhere to the government’s fire mitigation practices. The fires also delayed our progress and we needed to add an extra construction season to our plans. We also encountered unexpected flooding issues that we have now resolved.
Q: What is the loop enhancement?
A: There is a part of the trail that closely follows the Westside highway, which is a safety issue. One of our supporters bought a small section of land and we were able to add a loop that takes people off the shoulder of the highway and out of harm’s way, and features a beautiful beaver pond. This addition enhances the trail, and adds to the overall cost of the project by about $400K.
Q: How is COVID affecting the project?
A: ACTIVITIES: We cancelled all of our planned gatherings and celebrations. We have tentatively scheduled the Grand Opening for the end of September, but we are totally flexible and will change this if we can’t maintain social distance or ensure COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
FOR CONSTRUCTION: We are following all of the government protocols and there is enhanced hand hygiene and COVID-19 mitigation practices in place to enhance the safety of the crew.
FOR TRAIL USERS: Outdoor activity on the trail is a wonderful safe way for people to get some exercise. We encourage all users to act responsibly and maintain a safe distance.
Q: How is this going to help tourism?
A: TRAIL USES: Last year we recorded 25,000 uses of the trail, which we expect will increase once the trail is complete. We’ve bumped into a number of people on the trail who travelled to the Valley specifically to ride the trail.
This project supports the overall regional strategy (RDEK, Invermere) of building destination trails to increase tourism to the area. The success of this Trail is contributing to the momentum, and we expect more projects to follow.
CANADA AND COVID-19: Because of COVID-19, Canadians from all over are wary of travelling overseas. Obviously we want to ensure our community’s safety and ensure people are COVID-19 free before arriving here… but this is an opportunity for us to showcase our beautiful wilderness to the rest of Canada and strengthen our own economy.
Q: What is the Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance
A: The Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance envisions the region between Canal Flats and Donald, BC as connected by land and water greenways.
Our efforts are aimed at enhancing interconnections within the greenway, so that we may continue to enjoy the Columbia Valley as a thriving eco-district with healthy ecology, community and economy.
Our work is focussed on a collaborative effort between various groups to achieve access to natural spaces for recreation, education and a thriving community. We believe respect for the environment increases when groups plan, build and maintain trail systems together.