Princeton council strikes committee to explore motorized vehicles on the KVR

A committee to suggest strategies to open the KVR trail through Princeton to motorized vehicles was struck at Monday night’s council meeting.

The KVR Mixed Trail Use Select Committee will have a year to make recommendations to council about how the trail can be shared, said Mayor Spencer Coyne.

The committee will “allow everyone to come to the table, all the stakeholders,” said Coyne.

Route, user safety like speed limits, noise and dust control, maintenance, ground cover, funding and policing will be issues for the committee to address, said Coyne.

Terms of reference also set out the need for a draft community survey of residents who live closest to the KVR, and public engagement in the creation of a trail plan.

Members of motorized groups will be invited to sit on committee alongside nature enthusiasts and homeowners.

The Princeton ATV Club, Similkameen ATV Riders Club, ATV BC, Timberline Cruisers, Osprey Snow Wheelers ATV Club, Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists, Vermilion Forks Backcountry Horsemen, The Princeton Exhibition Association equine user group, Burton and Similkameen Avenue residents and members at large will be able to apply for representation.

The mayor and all members of council will sit on the committee, but will be non-voting members.

The community must be responsible for the direction of the trail, the mayor explained.

“If we want to find the solution the question has to be posed: Can this be a mixed trail use,” said Coyne. “Give me the recommendation on how it’s going to be done.”

Coyne said the trail committee is one of the first initiatives for the new council as there may be opportunities for member groups to apply for grants immediately that would fund whatever changes are going to be made.

“I don’t want the money that is going to be spent on building it to come from the taxpayers. I want the users to come up with the funding.”

The issue of motorized vehicles on the trail was much-discussed in the run up to the October municipal election, with most of the candidates expressing opposition to the controversial bylaw that banned motorized vehicles two years ago.

“I believe it had weight in the election,” said Coyne. “Was it the deciding factor? I can’t say.”

The Vermilion Trail Society will not be invited to participate on the new committee.

Coyne said the lawsuit brought against the town by the VTS, over the ownership of a historic caboose that sits near the trail, precludes the two groups from working together at this time.

Leona Guerster, VTS president also ran for mayor and took a strong stance in favor of mixed trail use.

“As a former candidate I was very clear in my platform that the KVR would be open to mixed use, had I been elected. As the president of Vermilion Trail Society, we are a trail maintenance society meaning we support the community’s decision,” she said in a message to The Spotlight.

“VTS would like to congratulate the mayor and council and…invite mayor and council to re-open discussions regarding the caboose, see if we can reach an understanding without proceeding in court.”

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