Contrary to popular belief I don’t actually enjoy getting upset at our Provincial Liberal government. I truly wish they didn’t repeatedly and viciously hurt our community with their blind ideology. In fact, I’ve been hoping against hope that one day I could actually write something praising them for their actions. Well, we’re not quite there yet, but for a refreshing change I must admit that they could have done worse.
My momentary hopefulness refers to the announcement that the Province has begun to accept trails as an integral part of the corridor’s communities. Actually, they recognized the value of our trails for several years now as there have been countless advertisements encouraging people the world over to come to enjoy the trails. This is fine and dandy, but they were encouraging ridership while not lifting a finger to actually build, maintain, or even recognize said trail network.
Having been personally involved in this process for more years than I care to count, I must admit being skeptical that we would even get this far. This hesitation didn’t stem so much from my distrust of our government as it did from the Herculean challenge of liability. Sure it’s Crown Land, but the Provincial Liberals are better known for downloading responsibility then they are for helping communities.
Case in point: their first plan was to make volunteer groups responsible for insuring the Province’s trail network. Thankfully, this was kyboshed and the SLRD stepped up to the plate to take on liability. In that light, it appears the province has paid 255,000 over three years for what amounts to be a priceless insurance policy.
The official announcement was made by our MLA, Joan McIntyre. During her reign, Joan has repeatedly come under fire in the community for being an ineffectual representative in Victoria. That said, you have to admit that she’s a damn fine ribbon cutter. And although she is quick to lap up the kudos, serious praise must also be bestowed upon those who have worked tirelessly to get us this far. For starters, Tim Hoskin, the Sea to Sky region’s recreation officer with the Province has been a great asset. Plus SORCA’s involvement at all levels was integral in getting the plan this far, and give a big hand to the fantastic show of support from the SLRD, not to mention many more behind the scene players.
Now, everyone agrees $550,000 over three years is a small drop in a big, neglected bucket. Especially when you consider it’s to be spent trying to manage and maintain 800km of abused trails from Squamish to Pemberton. This token sum and the promise of a corridor trail coordinator is however a very encouraging step forward. Thus allowing us, for a moment at least, to take an optimistic breath. After all it’s no small task getting the bureaucratic behemoth that is the Provincial Government to turn around and admit that trails are more than just a pain in the ass to ill-planned development and industry.