As a follow-up to the recent letter to the editor congratulating Marilyn Hansen for her contributions to local trails and the Summerland Trans Canada Trails Society, we too would like to add our own congratulations for the devotion and commitment to what she believes in. We commend her for this level of commitment.
We did not agree on a lot of things.
Along with providing our congratulations, we feel that certain statements made in this letter should be clarified.
The first thing we would like to point out is that these trails belong to all British Columbians and their connection to the Trans Canada Trail is a result of identifying it as part of a national vision and the fact they may or may not provide funding for the maintenance.
The fact remains they do not own it.
The second item is that even though the government would prefer this trail, formally established in March, 2011, be non-motorized, this preference is not currently legally enforceable and as such motorized use is not illegal.
Next we are assuming that the signs mentioned in the letter were the orders put up by Recreation Sites and Trails in early 2011, declaring access by motorized vehicles illegal on the Faulder section of the trail.
This order was quickly rescinded by the Recreation Sites and Trails and after extensive discussions in February 2012, as an alternative, the government opted for the establishment of a Provincial Rail Trail Network User Conflict Resolution Committee, made up of representatives of both the motorized and non-motorized communities. This committee was established with a proactive and comprehensive terms of reference.
Our provincial organization, the Quad Riders ATV Association of British Columbia, is part of this committee and is strongly committed to the process and the involvement of all trail users and the local communities.
The only complaint they have is the length of time the process is taking.
In February 2013, Steve Thompson, Minister of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, confirmed and re-emphasized that though the government supported concepts of the Trans Canada Trail, resolution on the rail trail portion must be achieved through a consensus-based and community-led process.
To achieve this goal along with the other trail groups, the Summerland ATV Club has been involved in the process as a member of the Naramata Working Group, set up to address the Naramata section of the rail trail network.
This process is still at the draft stage but from our perspective, reasonable compromises have been made.
We are also anxiously awaiting the commencement of a similar process under the Rail Trail Network User Conflict Resolution Committee mandate in Summerland, which will hopefully bring resolution to our section of the rail trails.
This can only happen with the involvement of all the community and trail users working together in harmony.
Philip Young, president
Summerland ATV Club