The provincial government continues to throw millions of dollars towards Experience the Fraser, a plan to link existing parks and trails along both sides of the river from Vancouver to Hope. We hope it’s worth it.
Most of the money, $2.5 million initially, went towards developing a concept plan – mapping out the hiking and biking trail links.
But because of private property – some of it occupied by industrial businesses, such as saw mills, and even more of it being native land – the proposed trail has to go around them, for now. While connected by a line on a map, the trail in areas such as south Albion in Maple Ridge would consist only of a road shoulder and some signs indicating the route. So it’s not really one, long connected trail, but a series of independent existing ones.
Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes suggests a small park fee be added to municipal taxes to purchase private, riverfront property if or when it becomes available, to expand the route – fill in the gaps.
It’s a nice idea, but an expensive one. And would such a trail, if completed, really attract tourists – cyclists who want to ride the entire route just to say they did? Where’s the economic return if they’re just bypassing through town?
And why wouldn’t they just take the Trans Canada Trail? Remember that? Who uses it? Who cares?
Fraser Valley residents have a plethora of trails they use in abundance already – and some make up part of the Trans Canada Trail and Experience the Fraser. Municipalities already have plans to purchase private properties along the river, negotiate with them when they do become available, to expand trail networks.
So what new is the provincial government spending millions of dollars on? As far as we can tell, nothing more than a line on a map.
– Black Press