Several items of interest to the valley received attention at the most recent Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors meeting, chief among them the proposed Westside Legacy Trail.

At the May 1st meeting, the RDEK directors decided to direct staff to prepare an amendment to the RDEK’s regional parks service establishment bylaw to include the Westside Legacy Trail as one of the RDEK’s regional parks. Costs for the park would be split by Invermere, Radium Hot Springs and Canal Flats as well as RDEK Area F and Area G.

“In general what this is doing is that it allows for liability and maintenance on the trail to be funded through the RDEK,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft. Taft added a key issue for the Greenways Trail Alliance (the non-profit group creating the trail) in convincing landowners to donate parts of their properties to the trail has been trying to find a way to assure the landowners that somebody else will assume liability over the sections of the trail they donate.

“For us as a regional district, we have to find a way to do that, to provide that guarantee to Greenways and to landowners. That’s what this (amendment) is,” said Taft.

The bureaucratic process of adding the trail to the regional parks bylaw will likely take several months, according to Taft, as every municipal entity in the RDEK — not just the those paying for the park — has to vote on the proposed bylaw change. This means the Westside Trail will appear as an item on the agendas of councils in Cranbrook, Kimberly and other municipalities further outside the Upper Columbia Valley.

The trail is planned to run from Invermere to Fairmont Hot Springs, paved the whole way and running adjacent to the gravel Westside Road.



At the meeting, the RDEK directors also allocated up to $300,000 worth of Community Works Funds to  upgrading the water main in Edgewater. The contract for the work was awarded to Copcan Civil Ltd. And Chair Rob Gay and chief administrative officer Lee-Ann Crane signed another annual operating agreement with B.C. Transit and Olympus Stage Lines for operating the Columbia Valley Transit system. The new one-year agreement runs until the end of March 2016.