Provincial trails manager John Hawkings got an earful Tuesday at a meeting in Naramata on proposed changes to the KVR Trail.

Plans for KVR Trail given a rough ride

About 200 people packed a hall at the Naramata Centre.

Some Naramata residents on Tuesday night shouted down a plan to close a portion of the KVR Trail to vehicular traffic.

That was chief among concerns raised during a public meeting at which a new concept plan was unveiled for the stretch between Naramata and Chute Lake. However, the elected official for the area said the vocal minority’s views don’t represent that of the broader community.

About 200 people packed a hall at the Naramata Centre to see for the first time the plan, which was drawn up by a working group of  trail users. The plan breaks that portion of the KVR into seven sections, all of which would be closed to vehicular traffic, although two of those sections would be open to shared-use by non-motorized users, like walkers and cyclists, and motorized users like ATV riders. The two shared-use portions cover Little Tunnel to Glenfir and Adra Station to Elinor FSR.

Non-motorized stretches would receive trail surface upgrades, while shared portions could be twinned or divided and receive new signage. The plan also calls for improvements to other connecting trails in the area to create more riding opportunities for motorized users, plus a couple staging areas where riders can unload their toys. Some work was expected to begin this fall, with the bulk of it proposed for next summer.

John Hawkings, provincial trails manager for the B.C. government, said the concept plan is a pilot project for conflict resolution between motorized and non-motorized users that could be applied elsewhere on the 2,000 km of rail trails the province owns.

He noted it had been “a difficult discussion” just getting the plan to the point it could be presented to the public, but said it’s based on creating maximum enjoyment and meeting the needs of all users with what is a publicly-owned asset.

The discussion got more difficult once Hawkings finished his presentation and took questions from members of the public, most of whom focused squarely on Hawkings’ declaration that on-highway vehicles, like trucks, would be banned in the concept area.

That means important sites would only be accessible to able-bodied people who can manage without a vehicle, and that’s not fair, said Scott Summers, whose son died last year when his vehicle went off the KVR near the Little Tunnel.

“I want to be able to see his memorial site forever,” Summers said.

Rob Van Westen criticized the working group for interfering with the community’s way of life.

“You’re talking about stuff that doesn’t belong to you,” he said.

“You should have come and gotten the feedback from us first before you decided what to do with our backyard.”

Andrew Drouin, who represented mountain bikers on the committee, said it would consider the idea of short-term exemption permits to allow some vehicular access for the disabled.

“We can’t give you any specifics, but there is room to work with that,” Drouin said.

The meeting was interrupted several times by people speaking out of turn or lobbing insults from the sidelines.

“It did seem that a handful of people were extremely disrespectful and outright rude,” said Karla Kozakevich, Naramata director for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

She said many supporters of the plan were intimidated by the boisterous crowd and chose not to speak up, so they’ve emailed comments to her and Hawkings that are largely in favour of the proposal.

“Maybe a little tweaking (is desired), but they all like the design,” Kozakevich said.

She also said the ban on vehicles is still just a proposal, but noted the KVR “is a trail, not a road.”

Hawkings concluded the meeting by saying the working group heard the community loud and clear.

“I do appreciate the feedback. It will be considered,” he said.

“This is not the last you’ll hear from us; I’m sure it’s not the last we’ll hear from you.”

Reached by email Wednesday, Hawkings would not commit to another meeting date, nor say how Tuesday’s event may have changed the proposed work schedule.

“We will be considering and evaluating comments from the meeting, input received on the feedback forms as well as comments we continue to receive from the public. We will also be considering regional and provincial interests in determining next steps,” he wrote. “Any work this year would likely be limited with minimal time left in the field season.”

The concept plan is now available online at www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Counting the costs of a pandemic

As COVID-19 continues, Canada’s debt and deficit are growing while credit rating drops

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Summerland Museum to hold walking tours

Community’s past will be explained during series of summer tours

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation following racist vandalism

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm likely linked to Kelowna outbreak, says Interior Health

A team of doctors, nurses and health investigators are at the Krazy Cherry Farm to test employees

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Separate trials set for 2018 Kelowna Canada Day killing

Four people have been charged with manslaughter in relation to Esa Carriere’s death, including two youths

Kootnekoff: New workplace harassment and violence requirements

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years.

Dyer: Buying an electric car

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

HERGOTT: Goodbye column

Paul Hergott is taking a break from writing for Black Press

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Lake Country motorhome fire deemed suspicious

Vehicle found fully engulfed Tuesday, July 14, just before 8:30 p.m.

Wet June, dry July: Okanagan on track for hot summer

Environment Canada said the summer and early fall will most likely be warmer than average

Okanagan College bestows highest honour to five individuals

Couple from Westbank First Nation and men from Vernon, Kelowna and Shuswap named Honourary Fellows

Most Read