A proposed walking trail between Lowertown and Trout Creek could become a reality if a grant application receives approval.
On Monday, municipal council passed a resolution to support the proposed multi-use trail and to submit an application for a Provincial Community Recreation Program Grant to provide up to four-fifths of the cost of the project.
The 1.2-kilometre trail would follow Highway 97 from Lakeshore Drive to Landry Crescent.
The cost is estimated at $860,000.
Julie McGuire, a planner with the municipality, said the formula is for up to 80 per cent of the cost of the project, but previous funding programs have been capped at $400,000.
Summerland’s share of the project would be $172,000 if the province contributes 80 per cent of the cost. If the provincial funding is capped at $400,000, Summerland’s share would be $460,000.
Members of municipal council were concerned with the cost of the project, especially since Summerland might not get the full amount of the grant.
“We could easily end up with a share of greater than 20 per cent,” said Coun. Bruce Hallquist.
Coun. Lloyd Christopherson said the municipality has other projects which deserve attention.
“Even at $172,000, to me that’s a lot of money that could be allocated somewhere else,” he said.
He explained that sidewalks on Prairie Valley Road are a more urgent need than a multi-use lakeshore trail.
“I think it’s a great project, but there are more essential things in this community than getting a new trail.”
Coun. Jim Kyluik said the municipality could choose to turn down the grant if the money received is not enough for the trail project.
Mayor Janice Perrino said Summerland’s share of the funding would not need to come from municipal coffers. She said fundraising from service clubs and community organizations could pay for the amount not covered by the grant.
In the end, despite their concerns, members of council voted unanimously in favour of the grant application.
The application deadline is Dec. 28 and the project, if approved, must be completed by March 31, 2015.
McGuire said the design and tender is estimated at four to six months but the actual trail construction would take four weeks.
“Building the missing trail link between Lowertown and Trout Creek would have physical, social and environmental benefits for the community, region and tourists,” McGuire said.
Municipal planner Ian McIntosh said there has been some local pressure to put the trail in place.
Before it can be built, it would require approval from the province. Because of its proximity to Highway 97, McIntosh said a barrier between the trail and the road surface would be needed.
Mayor Janice Perrino said the trail would bring benefits to the quality of life and would be a tourist draw. “This could be a boon for us,” she said. “It could bring people to travel on a trail that is not available elsewhere.”
She said Summerland’s chance of getting funding is excellent. “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” she said.