August 16, 2019
The Honourable Doug Donaldson
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development PO Box 9811 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9W1
RE: Columbia & Western Rail Trail – change in recreation trail designation
To Minister Donaldson,
As the provincial organization representing the interests of over 125,000 registered ATV riders in British Columbia, the Quad Riders ATV Association of BC (ATVBC) is pleased to respond to the request for input regarding a proposal by the Ministry to cancel the recreation trail designation on a portion of the Columbia & Western Rail Trail.
Upon review of the Stakeholder Engagement letter received from the Ministry, dated August 9, 20191 and various background materials including letters from Deverney Engineering Services identifying trail maintenance and management concerns2 and comments on trail management3, as well as the extensive inventory of culverts, retaining walls, and bridges requiring maintenance4 ATVBC would like to comment as follows:
1–ATVBC supports the Ministry proposal of an administrative transfer, to cancel the recreation trail designation on the Columbia & Western Rail Trail to ensure management is appropriate for current use – reflecting local interests, access for local property owners, recreation use and industrial activity, to align with the social, economic and environmental conditions in the region.
2–ATVBC acknowledges and supports the need for a sustainable maintenance regime to maintain the extensive infrastructure including engineered structures such as steel trestles, hard rock tunnels, and bridges requiring management beyond typical trail standards.
3–ATVBC supports a sustainable maintenance regime to ensure public safety and traditional recreational mixed use access for all users, including the mobility challenged and ever-increasing senior population.
4–ATVBC supports a forward-thinking process that considers all values and planned activities, to proactively plan for the future based on local interests and public access.
5–Recreation is an orphaned value under FRPA as it is a forest resource but does not have its own legislation to fully mange its diverse activities therefore ATVBC suggests legislation be developed and integrated into the current regulatory framework to better manage recreation values on crown land to include accountability and higher standard of care.
6–ATVBC recognizes that removal of a trail designation may appear to be a negative impact on recreation and may cause concern for some trail users however upon review of the background materials, it appears the opposite in this instance, as removal of the trail designation will allow for an appropriate management regime that reflects the intended and current use, to keep the rail corridor and its historical infrastructure safe and accessible for the benefit and enjoyment of all users.
We would like to thank the Province of BC for the opportunity to provide feedback on the CWRT change in administration and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to enhance and protect recreation values while balancing the needs of local residents and industry.
Ralph Matthews, President
Quad Riders ATV Association of BC (ATVBC)
1Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, Stakeholder Engagement RE: CWRT https://atvbc.ca/stakeholder-engagement-cwrt-trail-designation-removal-176
2Deverney Engineering Services Ltd, CWRT Letter of Support RE Cancellation of Trail Designation Deverney Engineering CWRT Letter of Support Aug 15 2019 RE Cancellation of Trail Designation
3Deverney Engineering Services Ltd, Letter to Forest Practices Board, Management of Recreation under FRPA https://atvbc.ca/deverney-engineering-services-letter-jul-11-2019-re-management-of-recreation
4Rail Trail Inventory of Culverts, Retaining Walls & Bridges https://atvbc.ca/rail-trail-inventory-of-culverts-retaining-walls-bridges