The City of Penticton will begin designing and costing out a trail route from near the Penticton Creek Reservoir up into Campbell Mountain, although where the funding to pay for the entire cost of the pathway will come from is still uncertain.
Council voted 5-1 last week to set city staff to work on the project utilizing $24,000 it received from developer Victor Durman in exchange for rezoning changes to build a 68-lot bare strata development at 1701 Penticton Ave.
The reservoir-route that staff will now pursue is one of two paths mapped out by Penticton and Area Cycling Association president Andrew Drouin which will take users from the city to the mountain without having to cross over the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park.
According to Drouin, a rudimentary wildlife trail already exists there that would need to be widened, sloped and packed.
The route seems to be the preferred option of many outdoor enthusiasts and trail user-groups. However, the total bill for the designing costs, trail work and walking bridge over Penticton Creek — there is a potential the bridge might be donated — is expected to exceed $24,000, according to the city’s manager of planning Anthony Haddad.
The city looked at the possibility of utilizing a provincial Localmotion grant, originally awarded for a different trail, but the grant required the project to be completed by March 2012.
“Unfortunately, feedback from the ministry and the province suggests that if the money from this grant was reallocated the deadline would not be extended,” said Haddad, recommending council instruct staff work out the project’s funding requirement for the city’s 2012 budgetary process.
“This gives the city an opportunity to look at a variety of budgeting solutions without taking funds from another project,” he said.
Only Coun. John Vassilaki voted against the plan in protest, he said, of the fact that Durman was able to get a portion of his security returned to him.
“I am against refunding developers anything once they get what they are looking for,” said Vassilaki, a developer himself. “The city puts in hundreds and hundreds of hours to process their applications on condition that they are going to do certain things or they are going to give us X amount of dollars.
“(Durman) got what he wanted but we are not getting what we wanted which was access to Campbell Mountain … I think the entire (security) should have gone to the city and then the city could use it to develop the trail. And I don’t give a hoot where that trail was going to be because that money was for a trail whether it is from his property or from somewhere else.”