Brogan Pastro of the Interact Club addressed council on Tuesday night to propose that the club take on a trail building project in June, specifically to construct a large portion of one of two trails in the Active Transportation Plan (ATP) prepared by Stewart Spooner in 2009.
“Interact is a youth volunteer committee in partnership with the Rossland Rotary Club that strives for the betterment of the world, both internationally and community-based,” Pastro said. Last year, members of the club travelled to Honduras to volunteer at an HIV/AIDS clinic.
“This year, we’re keeping it local. Because Rossland is such an active community,” he continued, “trail building seemed a natural fit for our group.”
The club members, including RSS co-ordinator Merilyn Nelson, met with city staff to explore the possibilities from among the many trails in the ATP that remain to be built. The choices were narrowed down to a path that will link Butte Street to the end of 2nd Avenue and down onto Old Railgrade Road — No. 18 in the ATP — or a path linking 8th Avenue to Charleston Crescent and down onto Columbia-Kootenay Road — No. 22 in the ATP.
Pastro weighed the pros and cons for both sites, and asked council to come to a decision quickly before the volunteer workforce of approximately “12 to 15 keen members” dissipates for “exam season” and the summer holiday.
Trail No. 18, he said, would be the “easiest to construct and relatively hassle free,” but it’s “rather long, so our group would only construct a portion of it,” in particular the portion from Old Railgrade to Georgia. The section through the rock-cut would require greater trail-building expertise.
One problem is that a “large amount of garden waste has accumulated” at the trailhead, and Pastro said their group would appreciate city assistance to move this waste. A greater difficulty might be that “land negotiations could be an issue,” although it is likely that city staff have already or are currently negotiating such statutory right-of-ways.
Later, Coun. Laurie Charlton emphasized that there could be a “major problem with access” because the trail crosses several private properties. Charlton suggested owners may be amenable to the plan in the short term, but without an easement a new owner could feel differently and block access.
Mayor Greg Granstrom, responded, “Council can’t make a decision on a delegation at this meeting. There may be issues council has to consider, and staff will bring those forward, I suspect in the next meeting.”
Pastro felt that the construction of Trail No. 22 was “less likely” because of “time constraints and administrative issues.” The trail would have to cross a stream, so the Interact Club would only be able to build the beginning and end of the trail — Ministry of Environment approval and expert trail and bridge builders would be required to complete it.
Nevertheless, the other portions could be constructed immediately and Pastro wanted to get going as soon as possible, “this week or the next, pending approval.” Coun. Kathy Wallace asked if it was possible that the job could be completed in the fall if it isn’t done before summer, and Pastro allowed that this was possible. “We’ll be dedicated,” he assured council.
Coun. Kathy Moore wondered why these “low priority” trails were chosen, but Merilyn Nelson explained the trails were recommended by city planners because the city is unlikely to build them any time soon unless a volunteer organization such as the Interact Club takes on the project.
Nelson added that, beyond criteria of cost and time for selecting these trails, “both lend themselves to a lot of manual labour.” They don’t require heavy equipment or experts, just “a lot of grunt work.”
The Active Transportation Plan is available at www.rossland.ca/node/970.