There is a workable route to the scenic trails atop Campbell Mountain, the city just needs to organize a plan, some money and a labour force of already-committed volunteers to turn the route into a trail, according to a Penticton councillor.
Earlier this month, Coun. Dan Albas and Penticton and Area Cycling Association president Andrew Drouin led a walking tour of about 30 people up three possible routes Drouin had mapped out for access to a network of trails located on public lands there.
Users of the trails have been concerned that access to Campbell Mountain seemed in jeopardy after developer Victor Durman explained to council that a commitment to build a stairwell into the area would be both unsafe and unrealistic due to the steepness of the incline near his property and because the structure would have to be built next to a riparian zone.
Of the three routes, Durman’s suggestion that a trail start at a city-owned walking path that dead-ends near the Penticton Fly Fisherman’s headquarters seems to be the most popular with users. The route would be extended over the creek, perhaps on a foot-bridge, through to the base of a short slope and up into the mountain lands.
“It got to be pretty obvious (that route) certainly is probably the most ready,” said Albas of the proposal which can be found on his blog: PentictonPolitics.com. “Some of the other pathways are very hard or intensive as far as switchbacks.”
According to Albas, some of the principles that were discussed included reducing erosion and wear on the mountain to enhance beauty and future use; making the design affordable to build and maintain; and providing a path accessible by foot, wheel or hoof.
Albas said if it is to be built, the design of the trail will have to be more comprehensive than simply erecting a bridge over the creek and laying down a dirt pathway up the mountain.
“There is going to be a lot of work that needs to be done in actually cultivating a real experience there,” he said. “I see this as requiring a lot of volunteer hours, but also finding a way to be able to get the equipment necessary. It is going to take a lot of buy-in from people as well because I quite frankly don’t think, as a government body, that (the city) has the money that it would take to do everything in-house.
“I am really looking forward to seeing what we can get done. I think it is a positive thing. From what I heard from everyone is that they are all very supportive. I just think that the city needs to light the way a little bit here and create the space where the volunteers can get in and start putting together a plan. Right now, there is a dream. We need to turn it into a vision and a plan.”
Anthony Haddad, manager of development services for the city, said on Monday that staff will be holding a stakeholders meeting at the site later this week to discuss the three routes, before presenting a report to council on the viability of each.