The Strathcona Regional District is interested in connecting the Greenways Loop with trails south of the city limits.
Regional District staff say an opportunity may exist to tie together the Jubilee Connector portion of the Greenways Loop, a walking trail that circles the city, to trails south of Jubilee Parkway. The Jubilee Connector Trail was officially opened Friday (see pictues on Page A3).
“It is evident that a continuous north-south trail system, extending south of Jubilee Parkway into Electoral Area D (Oyster River area) would be of significance to both communities in terms of recreational benefits as well as providing a possible bicycle commuter corridor,” said Brian Reardon, chief administrative officer for the Regional District.
The connection could possibly be along what is known as the Waterline Trail, which runs along private property.
One of the Regional District’s biggest challenges in developing a trail connector is the private ownership status of much of the lands that would be needed to align the trails, said Beth Rees, parks and planning manager for the Regional District.
“The trail would be largely dependent on if and when people decide to develop their own property,” she said.
Some of the land is also part of the Agricultural Land Reserve and would require provincial government approval for use of the land, while another chunk is part of the City of Campbell River’s planning jurisdiction.
“This definitely won’t happen overnight and it depends on a number of factors,” Rees said.
The financial implications are also a big consideration.
To go out and purchase all the land that would be needed for the development could potentially be a large burden to the Regional District, depending on how the funding would break down.
“Possible options to fund the cost of land acquisition and trail development include monies provided through the community parks service, grant monies, donations and other partnerships,” Rees said.
“Right now I can clearly say there is no project on the books, it’s a futuristic plan. The Regional District is saying that ‘yes there appears to be potential to look at connecting the trails when a suitable opportunity arises.’”
Alignment of the Greenways Loop and Oyster River trails will be considered during the Regional District’s 2012 budget discussions.