A grant application to establish a trail link between the newly constructed RC Cotton Trail and the River Valley Recreation Trail in Williams Lake has been approved.
Williams Lake City Council approved an application at Tuesday’s regular meeting requesting $600,000 under the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program.
“This is really really great news. Thanks to staff for putting it in overdrive to get this application in front of us,” Councilor Scott Nelson said. “This opportunity with this massive amount of grant funding will really tie our trail network system together right from the head of Williams Lake right to the Fraser River.”
Calling it a huge catalyst of tying in the RC Cotton site and the recently built pedestrian footbridge that is anticipated to have the gate come down in the next couple of weeks, Nelson added they will be lobbying to get the boardwalk put in place so they can get on with connecting all of the trails together.
“I think it’s about 15 or 16 kilometers right from Williams Lake right down to the Fraser River,” he said. “So it will be the ‘Stanley Park’ jewel of Williams Lake when we’re done with this trail which we’re looking to complete in the next 24 months.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said they have been planning this for a long time even before many of them were on this Council.
“I’ve been carrying this ball for about 10 years,” Councillor Ivan Bonnell said with a laugh.
Manager of Planning and Development, Hasib Nadvi confirmed staff is in conversation and discussion with CN Rail.
“We have a meeting with them next week and other private property owners,” Nadvi said. “Most of the properties are crown and city property, so there is a little bit where it’s private property and we have talked with FLNRORD and we’ll have to do a crown tenure but so far so good.”
Because the project has received the support of the Williams Lake Indian Band (WLIB), the City’s contribution would be $120,000.
“WLIB offers full support for this grant application and encourages the Province of BC to consider the full benefits of what has been visualized,” Chief Willie Sellars said in a letter of support. “Investment in the Williams Lake area benefits all residents and we are delighted to partner with the City on this key initiative.”