Following a rally in Penticton on Friday

Following a rally in Penticton on Friday

Cyclist pedalling support for completion of Trans Canada Trail

A year after his wife was killed biking, an Edmonton man is calling on B.C. government to finish trail and improve safety near Summerland

One year after his wife was killed on a cycling trip, an Alberta man has again taken to the road to carry out her wish to see completion of the Trans Canada Trail.

The Trans Canada Trail was conceived in 1992 as a 25-year plan to build a non-motorized link, using a mix of new and existing trails, right across the country.

With just five years to go, B.C. alone still has 721 kilometres left to do, according to Edmund Aunger, 64, who visited Penticton on Friday to rally support for his cause.

“Some people think it’s a federal government project,” said Aunger, “but roads and highways and trails are provincial matter, so nothing is going to happen without provincial leadership.”

In most provinces, however, “including B.C., there’s a real lack of provincial leadership, and they leave it to the municipalities and the regional districts to do something.”

Aunger, a retired University of Alberta political science professor, has planned a five-year series of summer rides across Canada that will end on the same day and spot his wife, Elizabeth Sovis, was killed.

The two discovered cycling later in life and decided to attempt the Prince Edward Island portion of the Trans Canada Trail, because it was the first stretch completed. Neither felt comfortable cycling on roads, so they were also glad to see the P.E.I. route billed as among the safest anywhere.

On July 14, 2012, however, the two had no choice but to venture four kilometres off the trail on a two-lane highway to reach a bed-and-breakfast where they planned to spend the night. Halfway to their destination, Sovis was struck and killed by a drunk driver.

She had intended to spend her retirement, due to begin July 1, 2013, riding the trail and pushing governments to complete the 17,000-kilometre route.

Sovis envisioned the trail as “someplace you can go where you (can feel) safe and not have to be an Olympic athlete to cycle on it,” Aunger said, adding he’s committed now to making that a reality.

The first leg in his five-year series began in Victoria on July 1 and is expected to end in Edmonton on August 25. He maintains a five-days-on, two-days-off schedule and spent his most recent break in Penticton.

Throughout the ride, he’s planned rallies at which he’ll share his message and encourage people to visit his website to sign an online petition. Doing so will also trigger emails to Premier Christy Clark and two ministers.

Aunger wants Clark to publish an action plan to outline how her government will complete the B.C. portion of the trail by 2017. He also wants to province to give priority to rerouting the trail in areas where it joins highways, like between Penticton and Summerland.

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton noted the South Okanagan has benefitted from recent improvements to the KVR Trail, which forms part of the Trans Canada Trail, and is confident the Liberal government will find a way to get all of the B.C. portion done.

“I know that there are opportunities that will come forward in the future,” Ashton said. “The Trans Canada Trail is a wonderful entity for the whole country.”



Just Posted

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Suspected Naramata homicide victim identified by police

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

(File photo)
Reports of aggressive deer in Penticton prompt warning from city

Expect female deer to be more aggressive over the next two months

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system also takes Indigenous children from their families, communities and nations

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Most Read