Julia Dykstra, planner for the Powell River Regional District, collects comments from a group of south-of-town residents regarding use of local trails at a meeting held at Lang Bay Hall last week.
More than 65 people took part in a productive Trails Plan meeting, hosted by the Powell River Regional District, on Thursday evening. The meeting was facilitated by Brent Harley and Associates, (BHA), the company the PRRD contracted to develop a Regional Trails Plan.
“This plan will guide the development and management of a sustainable trail network within the Powell River Regional District,” said Laura Rodden, Senior Planner for the PRRD. “The plan will embrace the diversity of users and foster social, cultural, health, economic and environmental benefits across the region. The plan will represent a fundamental move toward formally recognizing and valuing Powell River’s regional trails network as a significant and important regional asset.”
To develop the Regional Trails Plan and to help identify high priority trails in need of protection through the formal Provincial Forest and Range Practices Act, BHA hosted a series of public engagement sessions during the week of May 16-19, 2016.
The meeting at Lang Bay Community Hall was the fifth meeting for the PRRD and BHA; meetings in Lund, Tla’amin, PR Recreation Complex and Texada Island took place earlier in the week.
At the Lang Bay meeting, Brent told the crowd their feedback was needed. “This is a first go at doing an inventory of trails in this region,” he said. “Mapping the trails network around the community of Powell River was one of the recommendations coming out of the Powell River Regional District’s 2010 Green Space Plan. Now we are implementing that recommendation.”
Brent was accompanied to the meeting by PRRD staff Laura Roddan, Senior Planner, and Julie Dystra, Planner. They readily acknowledged the vast amount of work done by local clubs and groups over the years. “Now we want to map these places and we need your help highlighting the most important ones, your favourite trails. We don’t know the area, we are here to listen to what you have to tell us,” Brent said.
Area C Regional Director Colin Palmer was present at the meeting and eager to hear what the consultants had to say. “I haven’t seen the maps up in the room or heard what this is all about yet,” he said. “I am equivalent to everyone else in the room.”
All five groups of trail users – hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers, horseback riders and motor bike riders – were represented at the meeting. Everyone was afforded an opportunity to speak and the participants were broken down into small groups to tackle the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats posed by trail development.
Following the two hour meeting, the group was asked to fill in surveys on their way out. “This is our way of tabulating what people had to say at the meeting,” Brent said. In the near future, once the information has been interpreted, the public will be informed by PRRD staff as to next steps.
For now, the PRRD is looking for your opinion. Please complete an on-line Trails Survey today – the deadline is June 2, 2016. The PRRD Trails Plan Survey is available on-line at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PRRDTrailsSurvey. If you don’t have on-line access, call the PRRD at 604-485-2260 for a paper copy.