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Summerland launches phases 3 and 4 of trails redevelopment project

Work planned for Giants Head Mountain Park
From left Coun. Richard Barkwill, Ellen Walker-Matthews of the Rotary Club of Summerland, Deputy Mayor Erin Trainer, Mayor Doug Holmes, Penticton Indian Band knowledge leeper Richard Armstrong, Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel, Minister of Municipal Affairs Anne Kang, Tara Montgomery of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Coun.Janet Peake and MLA Dan Ashton unveil a sign near the top of Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

The municipality of Summerland officially kicked off phases 3 and 4 of the Giant’s Head Mountain Trails Redevelopment Project on Friday, June 9.

Mayor Doug Holmes was joined by council, Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel, knowledge keeper Richard Armstrong, Minister of Municipal Affairs Anne Kang, Rotary Club representatives, staff and project consultants from Associated Engineering.

Giant’s Head Mountain Park is an 87-hectare park with historical, ecological and recreational importance in Summerland.

In 2018, the municipality, in consultation with the community, completed a Trails Redevelopment Plan which balances recreation opportunities and natural conservation.

READ ALSO: $1.68M in trail improvements coming to Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland

READ ALSO: VIDEO: First phases of upgrades completed at Summerland park

̕The syilx Okanagan people call Giant’s Head Mountain ackɬtpus which translates to “a large lump on the edge of the bluff.”

The project kick-off also included an unveiling of an interpretive sign which was developed in partnership between the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Penticton Indian Band and the District of Summerland.

Phases 3 and 4 work will include upper circulation road upgrades and connecting pedestrian trails, upper parking lot washroom upgrades, construction of the upper section of the Giants Head Grind trail to the top of mountain, remedial planting and invasive weed management, trail erosion control measures, continued First Nations consultation for Indigenous interpretive signage, brush removal and fire hazard remediation work, park road improvements and a new park entrance washroom.

Design work will be completed this year and construction will begin in the spring of 2024.

The municipality received funding through the Investing in Infrastructure Canada Program to complete phases 3 and 4 of the Giant’s Head Mountain Trails Redevelopment project.

The municipality received financial support of $673,113 from the federal government and $560,871 from the provincial government. Summerland will contribute 26.7 per cent of the $1,682,782 project, or $448,798.

“We congratulate Summerland Mayor Holmes and council for their success in acquiring funding for the Giant’s Head Improvement project,” said Gabriel. “The Penticton Indian Band welcomes their commitment for including and showcasing our Indigenous perspective with this project. We will continue to work with the District of Summerland in further building our relationships on initiatives of mutual interest and values.”

He added that the mountain will be protected and left in its natural state.

“The government of Canada remains committed to investing in projects that contribute to the vibrancy of our communities,” Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada said in a letter, on behalf of Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

“Giant’s Head Mountain Park is a focal point of Summerland, providing beautiful hiking trails and gathering spots for the community,” said Anne Kang, the province’s Minister for Municipal Affairs.

“Nothing represents Summerland more than Giant’s Head Mountain. It has strong cultural significance for the syilx Okanagan people and is appreciated by all who live here for its ecological value and recreational opportunities,” said Holmes. “The remediation and park improvements being undertaken by the District of Summerland are important work, and they would not be possible without the support of the Penticton Indian Band and Okanagan Nation Alliance, financial contributions from the federal and provincial governments, and Summerland Rotary’s original vision and initiative for the project.”

The first two phases of the project were completed in 2020.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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