I attended the meeting about the KVR plan on Sept. 18. Unfortunately the meeting was dominated in a very unpleasant way by the proponents of motorized traffic. I was very disheartened by the lack of civility and respect on the part of some of the participants.
The meeting began with area director Karla Kozakavich acknowledging the interest and the strong feelings that many people have regarding motorized/non-motorized use of the KVR Trail in the Naramata area. She asked for orderly and respectful discourse. Many people abided by this but quite a few supporters of motorized traffic showed no respect and constantly interrupted the presenter as well as some of the speakers by making loud, disruptive comments.
One example: When a resident was speaking about the noise and dust created by quads speeding regularly near his home, an opponent yelled at him to “move.” There are many local people who support the plan but it is no surprise that they did not wish to subject themselves to abusive remarks like that. Many offensive and crude comments were loudly made, often from the back of the room.
Those making the comments didn’t represent their cause very well as it can be assumed they have the same disrespectful attitude when driving vehicles on the trail. While not all drivers are like that, I personally have encountered quite a few who are extremely loud, do not slow down, race back and forth and who make no effort to share the trail. In one instance, there was no accommodation to make way for my young grandchildren, and another time, my dog came close to being hit by a fast-moving truck.
I was also surprised by comments expressed in the meeting indicating that public input should have been sought before now. I’ve been following this issue for a couple of years through local media and the RDOS site and, in my opinion, there has been plenty of information provided, including meetings and a survey to gather opinions.
Although I support non-motorized use of the trail, at least from Smethurst southward, I was at the meeting to learn as much as I could about the other side of the issue and to hear how compromises could be made. Some good points were raised, acknowledged by the panel and assurance was given that they will be taken into account. Despite that, it was quite obvious that some attendees wanted only to express anger and have their own demands met, not look for solutions.
The working group did an excellent job researching, preparing and presenting the material; they deserve to be thanked for their hard work. It is to their credit that they, particularly the main presenter, remained focused and responsive in the face of such disruption and insults.
It is always vital to have community input and involvement as all views need to be heard, but surely this can be accomplished without resorting to disrespectful and insulting behaviour.