April 08, 2014 - 4:14 PM
PENTICTON — Local cyclists reached out to city council for a hand in securing permission from the federal government to extend bike trails on crown lands.
The Penticton and Area Cycling Association has asked councillors to provide a letter of support to Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., the government body that controls the sought-after land.
Association president Laura Harp said, people already ride on the trails even though the crown hasn’t given official permission to use the land. The goal is to support long term access to 3 Blind Mice so they aren’t playing it “day-by-day.” Bikers could lose access to the land any day.
The property is part of the 3 Blind Mice trail, that is owned by both city and crown. The Mice trail, first developed in 1994, is just under 4,000 acres and used by hikers and runners as well as cyclists.
Adjacent to that land is City of Penticton-owned land, which the association has permission to use for bike trail construction, and other related infrastructural developments.
Since the land has split ownership, the association is trying to get it all under one land manager.
Harp said she expects the process to take the next step of public deliberation this month.
Colleen Pennington, the city’s Director of Economic Development has been working with the association to bring the matter to council’s attention.
Councillors discussed the city’s opportunity of making Penticton an internationally-known biking destination with proper marketing of local bike trails.
Several comments were made that the 3 Blind Mice trail was the biking equivalent of Skaha Bluffs, a provincial park internationally known for rock climbing and hiking.
Pennington introduced opportunities businesses could have and how the city could bring in more money if cycling was made a focus point for tourism. Going forward, the city would have to look at bike-friendly initiatives, signage and wayfinding for locals and tourists, and promote local businesses among other things.
Councillors were in support of the ideas brought forward and appeared eager to help the association secure the lands to expand bike trails. They will discuss how the issue will go forward at tonight’s city council meeting.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014