By Phil Melnychuk
B.C.’s new premier likes the idea of stitching together 300 kilometres of trail along the Fraser River from Hope to Vancouver.
Christy Clark got an update recently about the Experience the Fraser project, which dreams of a multi-use trail on both sides of the river, joining culture, recreation, tourism and exercise.
“We’re hoping to make this an international tourist sight,” comparable in impact to the Seine River in Paris, or the Rhine River in Germany, but mostly benefiting the local population, said MLA Marc Dalton.
The group, included Langley Coun. Gayle Martin, Mission Mayor James Atebe and Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley Regional District representatives reviewed progress so far, including two demonstration projects, one in Mission, the other in Langley.
Dalton is on the Experience the Fraser team and said the premier was excited about the project and sees it as a legacy for future generations.
Experience the Fraser was launched two years ago with $2.5 million in seed money. Two million of that was for developing a concept plan, most of which has been done, including two brainstorming sessions to ensure input from all sides.
The remainder went to the Langley demonstration project, a trail that opens in July connecting Fort Langley to Derby Reach Regional Park and Golden Ears Bridge; and for building a Spirit Square on the Mission river front.
Dalton said the basic framework is now in place with buy-in from about 20 agencies. Most of phase one of the plan — consulting with the agencies — has been done, allowing for the more practical task of implementing the project over several years. A map has been created to identify the various tourist attractions for the first 160 kilometres.
“We have done the preliminary work and now we’re moving forward.”
Much of the system is already in place, such as the trails along the river dikes, Dalton said. The existing Trans-Canada Trail also composes a large of the network. “But we’re trying to link everything and provide a long-term vision for both sides of the Fraser River.”