By Nicole Trigg

Pioneer Staff

Every day, people entering Invermere are witnessing the emergence of the new Columbia Valley Centre thats slowly taking shape on the hill above Athalmer across from Sobeys. Day after day, week after week, the building is progressing to the point where the artist rendering is no longer just an idea, but a glimpse at a soon-to-be reality.

Another idea that will soon be taking shape is the Westside Legacy Trail when construction on the 25-kilometre paved trail along Westside Road between Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs starts next spring.

And now the Columbia Valley community has a third recreational infrastructure project to look forward to with the Greenways Trail Alliance and the Columbia Valley Cycling Society pulling together the concept of a 35-to-40 kilometre non-motorized trail system in the Barbour Rock area just past Lake Lillian.

Now that the proposal has been formally submitted for approval, the public can view it on the Columbia Valley Cycling Societys website (http://columbiavalleycyclingsociety.org/barbour-rock) and offer up comments.

Lets face it, to compete as a destination especially when you consider the surrounding competition of Golden, Revelstoke and Fernie in the East Kootenay alone, never mind Nelson in the West Kootenays and Canmore/Banff just around the corner a region needs organized play areas to stand out from the rest of the bunch. The Barbour Rock Trail System has all the potential of the famous Moonraker and CBT networks in Golden, and the Lost Lake Park trails in Whistler (known as the Zappa Trails). Then theres the world class Smoke Bluffs Park in Squamish, a combination of rock climbing and hiking routes that also serve as access to some of the best mountain biking trails on the West Coast.

With valley businesses still trying to figure out how to stay afloat during the winter and shoulder season months, and local governments in need of evermore tax dollars to pay for the amenities their growing communities need, supporting the Barbour Rock Trail System is a no-brainer, but making it perfect takes feedback from its home community so get your comments in and help this next awesome project take shape.