The Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) proposed budget has pitched some happy news for local mountain bikers.
The five-year financial plan bylaw, which includes $50,000 in funding for the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA), will receive its first three readings at council's meeting on Tuesday, April 5. In all, the five-year plan proposes setting aside $80,000 a year for recreational trail projects for all five years.
WORCA president Craig Mackenzie said the funding would go a long way to keeping local routes in good shape.
"The money is earmarked for trail maintenance and so we posted a three-year plan with the municipality of things we would do over a three-year period," he said. "Each year is subject to budget approval and approval of what we did in the previous year.
"We're happy to work with the municipality in holding trails to a very high standard for our residents and visitors."
Among the major projects from the WORCA perspective, there will be a three-year rebuild of Comfortably Numb, trails from Black Tusk Road into the Jane Lakes area, and rehabilitation of some walking trails in Cheakamus Crossing.
Mackenzie said all of the upcoming projects are high-priority ones on WORCA's list.
"These trails get a lot of use given our environment. We need to keep on top of the trails, which is a large reason why people come here in the summer," he said.
Mackenzie said there are several repairs that workers must consider when attending to trails to make them safe and in prime riding condition.
"You're working on the actual trail surface, taking a look at bridges and features, seeing if they need any work. It could be replacing the decking on bridges or the stringers on bridges," he said. "Modern tires chew a lot of gravel out of the trails, so we're replacing the trail surfaces."
The proposed budget also lists repairs for River Runs Through It, reconstruction of the Blueberry Park hiking trail, Rainbow Falls loop improvements, trail surface upgrades near Lost Lake and improving the connection to the Sea to Sky Trail with a new Zappa trail, while also rebuilding the Green Lake Loop connection to the Sea to Sky Trail.
The budget proposes continuing the construction of the Alpine Trail Network, including completing the Sproatt Rainbow Trail Development Plan with roughly 40 kilometres of trail and campsites. The five-year plan has pitched $300,000 in total funding for each of the next three years.
According to information provided by the RMOW, the network will include an eight-kilometre Lord of the Squirrels mountain bike descent on Mount Sproatt completed by WORCA, a multiuse Function ascent and descent trail, and an Alpine Club of Canada hiking Skywalk Trail connecting Flank Trail to Nineteen Mile Trail's ascent to Iceberg Lake leading to Rainbow Ridge and Screaming Cat Lake. There will also be improvements to the Rainbow Lake Trail.
In 2016, the RMOW will complete the Sproatt Alpine Ascent Trail to the Sproatt Ridge Trail junction and re-grade old logging roads down to Function Junction, continue work on the Sproatt Ridge Trail to Tonic Peak, along the ridge and to the lake, and continue work on the Sproatt Peak Trail to the valley overlook point.