It’s a goal that those involved agree will have to be built piece by piece, but work is underway towards making a pedestrian path connecting North Shuswap communities a reality.
A group of residents concerned with the safety of cyclists and pedestrians who use the often-narrow Squilax Anglemont Road want to see a parallel non-motorized path added. It is hoped that the pathway would connect the parks in the North Shuswap as well as the populated areas between Squilax and St. Ives.
Debbie Seymour, one of a group of 10 North Shuswap residents who have been meeting regularly to plan the path, said safety is the number one priority. She noted that the speed limit for much of the road is 80 km/hr and it is used by logging trucks as well as a large volume of tourists in the summer.
Seymour said a survey which received 329 responses showed strong community support for the trail. She said work has shifted to identify which stretches of the road are best suited for the first phases of the path project before presenting them to government groups that can assist with the project.
According to Seymour, the successful completion of the pedestrian path would likely require cooperation with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Parks and local First Nations.
Jay Simpson, the elected CSRD director for the North Shuswap, said he is in favour of the idea for a path alongside the roadway having seen the challenges for cyclists and pedestrians in the summer traffic. He added that while construction of the trail would be relatively simple in some areas, the steep drop-off from the hills above to the lake in some areas will make it difficult and expensive. He said getting a start on the project is an excellent idea.