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Volunteers pitch in to build trail

Statutory right of way ensures public access to trail system
Volunteers pitch in to build trail

by Laura Walz A group effort has succeeded in restoring a right of way from Nootka Street through a golf course to the Penticton Street trail system.

Clint Monson, area manager for BC ministry of transportation and infrastructure, has been working to establish a statutory right of way through Nootka Dunes Golf Course. The statutory right of way was finalized recently and next Monson worked on bringing contractors in on a volunteer project to create a trail. “It’s obviously a valuable resource for everyone in the Powell River area to enjoy the outdoors,” said Monson.

The golf course had the statutory right of way surveyed, Monson said, and granted it. “They realized people needed to safely get around the last fairway,” he said.

The ministry has a community volunteer initiative, Monson added, which worked for building the trail. “There was a way for us to do this, which is normally outside the scope of our operations,” he said.

Capilano Highway Services provided two days of labour and equipment to build the one-metre wide trail from Nootka Street all the way to the back boundary of the golf course, which connects into the Penticton Street trail system. The ministry provided the materials. The trail will be surfaced in 25-millimetre crushed gravel.

A right of way existed before the nine-hole golf course was developed in 2003. When the course was built, it was extended over the right of way, which cut off public access. Eventually, the ministry of transportation issued an encroachment permit, but the issue of public access remained a thorny issue.

Patricia Beardmore, who lives on Nootka, raised the issue with Powell River Regional District and the ministry in 2010. She and other area residents organized a petition in support of public access. However, letter writing began in 2008, Beardmore said, “but nothing resulted from it. It came on the heels of numerous residents claiming that they were prevented from passing through. The need is obvious. We encounter hundreds of people back in the trail system. People on this side are no different. We need a way in.”

Beardmore was pleased with the new trail. “We’re overjoyed at the amount of help we’ve now had from the ministry of transportation and the fellows from Capilano Highways,” she said. “They’ve gone totally the extra mile for us on building this trail. They’re doing it all with the big machines.”

It’s going to be a beautiful trail, Beardmore said, and something that is long overdue for the neighbourhood. “We have our beautiful Penticton Street trail system back there and now everyone from this side can access it easily and without hindrance, especially for our seniors in the area who can’t mountain climb. This is a wonderful opportunity for them. The families with children, the cyclists, all of them will make good use of this road and we’re so appreciative of the extra help that we’ve had. It would have been tough doing it all on our own.”

Volunteers are also helping with the new trail, including Wayne Brewer, a local cyclist who was instrumental in bringing the BC Bike Race to Powell River. He used to own the 12 acres the golf course was built on. When his children were young, he had made a series of trails on his land and he also kept the trail on the right of way open. “I taught the girls to ride their bikes along this trail, the Yaroshuk trail, and the trails I had on our own land,” he said. “I was quite flabbergasted when I saw the trail recently. There never used to be a lake there.”

The right of way was created when the owner of the adjacent property subdivided. Brewer said. “It reverted to the Crown,” he said.

Brewer bought his property in 1991 and the trail was there at that time. “I noticed people using it all the time,” he said, adding people would take courses at Dogwood Kennels and then practice with their dogs on Yaroshuk trail.

The new trail is expected to be completed this week.