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RMOW eyeing Valley Trail expansion

Money budgeted to connect Cheakamus Crossing, Rainbow to network

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The municipality's vision for a trail system connecting all of Whistler is coming a little closer to fruition.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler will complete two Valley Trail expansion projects next year. Money has been set aside in the 2011 budget to complete the Spring Creek to Cheakamus crossing path, which has been in progress throughout the fall but is currently shut down due to weather.

According to the municipality the contractor was not able to get the work completed before the snow started to fall. Due to the high fire risk for most of the summer the project was delayed at the outset.

While the goal was to complete the trail this year, the municipality acknowledged in September that paving might be delayed if it got too cold or wet to proceed. A usable gravel trail was expected to be in place for residents, however that was delayed until next year as well.

There is also Valley Trail money in the municipal budget for a bridge connection around the 19 Mile Creek subdivision, between the first and second entrances to Alpine Meadows and parallel to the highway bridge, that will allow residents from the Rainbow subdivision to connect to the Valley Trail system without having to cross the highway. Construction will begin in 2011.

There is funding set aside for trail reconstruction projects throughout the 35-km system to repair sections that have worn out, undergone settlement or have asphalt cracking.

At the Nov. 16 council meeting, there was some discussion amongst council and staff about a Brio-Blueberry trail connection to bring pedestrians and riders to the lights at Blueberry. Two options were presented: a path along the highway, or through the neighbourhood and running up to the lights.

Dave Patterson, RMOW Manager of Park and Village Operations, said a trail running through the neighbourhood is not a realistic option because it would have to be built on private land. The province gave its approval to the expansion along the highway as long as there was room to expand Highway 99 if they chose to do so sometime in the future. However, Patterson said both options are moot at this point as there's no funding identified for it in the Five Year Capital Plan.

It would be put on a list of other Valley Trail expansions that the RMOW is eyeing, including an area at the Cyprus subdivision, across from Nicklaus North, to connect with the stretch of trail built near the transit facility. Currently the trail by the transit facility doesn't really go anywhere.

The proposed connection would go from Meadow Park along the end of Cyprus, over or under the railroad tracks and through that next piece of property that attaches to the transit site and running to the crossing at Blackcomb Way.

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