City seeks grant for trail upgrade

Penticton is hoping the province will pick up a majority portion of tab to upgrade the Kettle Valley Railway Trail from Sutherland Road to Vancouver Place, after submitting an application to B.C.’s 2011 community recreation grant program.

Mitch Moroziuk, Penticton’s operations director, explained during the final council meeting of the year that the estimated project cost would be $188,600, but the provincial grant would cover 80 per cent of the cost — or $150,800. That would leave the city to pick up only 20 per cent of the project cost, or $37,800, which would be factored into the 2012 budget.

The province began the grant program in October to invest in capital projects designed to make communities healthier and more physically active. Moroziuk explained the application will serve as an extension of the 2011 joint project with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources that saw the KVR upgraded north from Naramata to city limits and south from the city limits to Sutherland Road.

The 2012 plan, he said, is to continue the upgrade of a further 5.5 km of the KVR from Sutherland to Vancouver Place. Construction work would consist of levelling out undulations and creating a surface of compacted crushed asphalt millings.

Council endorsement was among the requirements for the application, Moroziuk added.

Coun. Helena Konanz said she had been running in the area that morning, and noticed the trail was passable enough for strollers.

“It’s actually a beautiful trail up to that point. I don’t see it needing a lot of fixing,” she said.

Coun. Andrew Jakubeit echoed her sentiments, adding the KVR Trail would benefit more from upgrades to areas that currently have loose gravel.

“It’s a tourism enhancement. I don’t have a problem supporting this,” he said, adding paving the Poplar Grove parking lot could encourage more than just mountain bike passage. “That’s where we need to put some emphasis on.”

Others had a difficult time turning down the money. “It’s not very often we can purchase something for 20-cent dollars,” Coun. Garry Litke said.

Coun. Judy Sentes said she was pleased to note that letters of support were being garnered from the local cycling association, Bike Barn and Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen after issues arose from some Naramata residents following the previous upgrades to the northern extensions of the trail.

Coun. John Vassilaki, the lone opposition to the grant application, questioned why the application was coming to council at such a late stage. Moroziuk explained staff had been working on the documents for only two weeks. The application was due on Dec. 28.


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