Princeton council votes to open parts of KVR to motorized vehicles

Sections of the KRV trail through Princeton will be opened next year to off road vehicles, following a unanimous vote by town council Monday night.

However, there will be no continuous pass through the community, owing to a decision by two provincial ministries to keep ATVs and other motorized vehicles off the short stretch of land passing underneath the Highway 3 bridge.

“I’m pleased with what happened tonight,” said Ed Vermette, president of the Princeton ATV Club and chair of the adhoc trail committee formed by council last fall.

However he admitted: “it’s not exactly what we were hoping for.”

Related: Petition fights ATV bylaw

According to CAO Lyle Thomas, who prepared a series of trail recommendations for council to consider, the sections of trail – from the tunnel to just before Subway and from Rainbow Lake to an area near Two Rivers Park – will open in the spring.

The project is a trial, he said, for one year and town staff will monitor the results.

“There’s a bit of work to be done in preparation,” including creating signage and developing a code of conduct and ethics for trail use.

The trail will be open to motorized vehicles only during daylight hours.

Use of the KVR has been a contentious issue in the community since 2011, when council declared the Princeton section of the KVR, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail, non-motorized.

In 2015 a different council passed a bylaw making it illegal to operate motorized vehicles on the trail. It was a decision which sparked organized protests including a petition and a rally outside council chambers with hundreds of off road enthusiasts attending.

Trail use was a much-debated issue in the 2018 municipal election, and one of the current council’s first acts was to strike a trail committee to explore multi-use trail options.

Related: Princeton council strikes committee to explore motorized vehicles on the KVR

Thomas said finding a trail solution was difficult “knowing there are two sides to the story.”

Before the motion was passed Monday, councillors received and filed a petition with 88 signatures to keep the trail non-motorized, presented in June by former councillor and local restaurateur Jerome Tjerkstra.

“This was interpreted by staff that there are still two very passionate sides to this topic,” Thomas acknowledged.

Related: Former councillor has harsh words for Princeton mayor and trail committee

Thomas said staff was taken by surprise when it was learned they would not be able to connect the sections of trail by using the Highway 3 bridge underpass.

“We didn’t full grasp that at first,” he said. “When we came to the underpass we wanted to review our license of occupation and when you read our licence…it comes to Highway 3 and stops and then starts on the other side.”

Both the transportation and forestry ministries were adamant the underpass remain non-motorized.

Related: MLA throws full support behind shared use trails

“They were very clear that they are not interested in granting passage under the bridge,” said Thomas. “They just don’t want it. They are worried about liability and they are worried about erosion.”

The underpass will remain open for walkers, cyclists and horseback riders, he added, and applications can be made to the province to use that part of the trail for special permitted events.

“We will keep going until we see a continuous trail,” said Vermette. “It was squashed tonight but it is not dead. We will continue to lobby.”

Vermette said allowing ATVs into town “is a win for the business community.” The ATV club will work with town staff to organize and pay for prepping the trail for spring.

“We have funding available for this.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Snow today in Revelstoke

High of zero degrees

Kootenay-Columbia MP talks throne speech, USMCA trade deal

Rob Morrison to open constituency office in Cranbrook at 800C Baker St. on Dec. 19

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to leader’s surprise resignation

The resignation of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer caught members of his caucus by surprise

Graduation rates in Revelstoke 11 per cent above provincial average

Provincial average for high school graduation is 81 per cent, while it’s 92 per cent in Revelstoke

Cycling association and snowmobile club receive RMI funding

Revelstoke City Council delayed approving their applications earlier this year

Fashion Fridays: A masterclass on H&M knitwear

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Cranbrook man calls for ban after dog caught in leg hold trap

Black Lab loses teeth after biting at trap in pain and panic

B.C. Crown corporation immune from taxation, but may still have to pay GST: court

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation may still be on hook for GPS payments

‘He was good for the West:’ Sadness, surprise in Saskatchewan over Scheer

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and his predecessor, Brad Wall, both thanked Andrew Scheer

Travellers know little about air-passenger rights, Canadian poll suggests

The first set of passenger-rights rules landed in mid-July and the rest this weekend

Johnson claims Brexit mandate with new conservative majority

Conservative Party wins 365 seats in the House of Commons

Summerland cafe raises funds at free community meal

Food left over from Summerland Festival of Lights booth was served the following day

Most Read