By Steve Hubrecht

The Athalmer neighbourhood plan was recently formally adopted by the District of Invermere (DOI), and district staff and council are chomping at the bit to start implementing it.

One of the first parts of the plan the district will work on is improving its active transportation trail network in Athalmer. It is pursuing a grant to help pay for a paved, separate multi-use pathway along fourth avenue.

“We have been working on the Althalmer trail plan,” Invermere director of public works and operations, Angela MacLean, told Invermere council during a meeting earlier this month. 

She noted that fourth avenue is “a fairly busy stretch of road” in part because it is an alternate way to connect major streets (specifically Laurier Street and Panorama Drive), and also because it connects residential and industrial parts of Athalmer. 

Putting in a multi-use path on the west side of fourth avenue, separated from the roadway by a curb and a gutter, along with the four raised crosswalks across the avenue, will make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, and those using other modes of active transportation, pointed out MacLean. She added it will also help slow down vehicle traffic in nearby neighbourhoods.

The planned path would be 3.3 metres (m) wide, and would have wheelchair ramps to make it more accessible. It will cost around $400,000.

The district is applying to a BC active transportation infrastructure grant that would cover about 70 per cent ($280,000) of the cost of the pathway. The reaming 30 per cent ($120,000) would be paid for by district taxpayers.

“It is certainly beneficial to keep moving forward with our trail network,” Invermere mayor, Al Miller, said during discussion on the topic at the meeting.