Despite their reservations about the project, members of municipal council have supported an application for grant funding for a multi-use trail connecting Lowertown and Trout Creek.
The trail comes with a price tag of $860,000, although grant funding could reduce Summerland’s share.
Still, even if 80 per cent of the funding were to come in the form of grant money, some members of council said there are more pressing needs in the municipality.
Although one cannot argue against sidewalks along Prairie Valley Road and other parts of the community, the proposed trail would be an important addition for the community.
At present, walkers and cyclists travelling between Lowertown and Trout Creek must use Highway 97, a busy route during the summer months. Some cyclists along this stretch of highway will ride against traffic rather than cross the highway twice. This is an unsafe practice, but it will continue until a better alternative is in place. For this reason alone, the proposed trail deserves consideration.
A trail would also provide an attraction for tourists and that in turn could benefit tourist-related businesses.
However, the point raised at Monday evening’s council meeting is valid. There are other important projects throughout the community.
The municipality has limited funds available and even with grants paying a portion of the cost, there is still a price to pay for any improvement or special project.
In the past few years, the municipality has taken on some badly needed projects, most notably the Rosedale Avenue and Prairie Valley Road upgrades, the expansion of Thirsk Dam and the creation of the water treatment facility.
Money must be spent carefully. Still, the benefits from the proposed trail are significant and must be considered.