Submitted by Greenways Trail Alliance
On Friday, March 10th, Bill Bennett and Premier Christy Clark jointly announced the Westside Legacy Trail project will receive a $1,000,000 BikeBC grant towards construction of the trail, which will link the communities of Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs.
“If you think there is an echo because you keep hearing the Westside Legacy Trail just received a large grant, your hearing is fine — the project did receive two large grants in the last seven days totalling $1,500,000”, said Mark Halwa, executive director of Greenways. “With construction set to begin next month and the project is now 80 per cent funded, we are loving this March momentum boost!”
The $1,000,000 grant, the largest to date, was made possible by many people working together to ultimately benefit the entire Columbia Valley.
The project officially began in late 2014 when eight landowners were asked and later donated their land to create the multi-use trail. Over the past two years, route planning, surveying, engineering and fundraising has led to a Valley-wide movement on behalf of many to make the trail a reality.
Applying for large grants and navigating through government permitting is a lot easier with guidance from those who know government best and the project has many people to thank. The RDEK led the way by taking the necessary steps to ensure the trail would be maintained as part of its regional trail network, which required support from Radium, Invermere and Canal Flats councillors, as well as both RDEK Area Directors Wendy Booth and Gerry Wilkie. Richard Haworth compiled hundreds of pages of documentation for the Agricultural Land Commission process and guided Greenways to receipt of the permit to begin trail construction. Doug Clovechok helped locate and introduce Greenways staff to many people within the B.C. government responsible for the myriad of permits and authorizations required. Doug was a previous Greenways director and has assisted like he never left. And finally, between the Fundraising Committee, the Construction Committee and the Greenways Board, another 38 people have provided ongoing assistance to get the project to the construction stage, which begins in April. None of these people have been paid for any of their time, yet collectively they have donated over $400,000 of their personal funds to the trail.
“The RDEK is very excited and grateful for the generous grant from BikeBC. We are also proud to be working so closely with such a dedicated group as the Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance to create a world-class cycling path and recreational amenity that will be a benefit to the entire region,” said RDEK Vice-Chair Wendy Booth.
For project information, donation or volunteer opportunities, please visit www.ourtrail.org.