The KVRTPA has reached out to local Mayoral and Area Director candidates in the Town of Princeton and Area H, the regions where the KVR was hardest hit in the 2021 Floods, with many trail closures in place.
We asked the candidates about their level of support for the KVR, and here are their responses:
1. Do you support repairing the KVR trail from the 2021 Flood?
SPENCER COYNE: Yes
DOUGLAS PATEMAN: I wholeheartedly support the repair and rebuild of the KVR
MICHAEL MAZUREK: Yes, I support repairing the KVR Trail from the 2021 flood
BOB COYNE: Yes
2. If elected, what would you do to support the KVR trail?
I have already begun working with our MLA and our MP to try and have the section between Princeton and Tulameen repaired. Our MP has taken it back to Ottawa as there is a national historic site along that section of the trail that we were hoping would require some federal intervention and funds to repair the train tussle through the tunnel heading toward Tulameen. I was also a part of a delegation that went to the Parliamentary Secretary of the Environment requesting that the Province provide the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen a plan. I attended as a representative of the Town of Princeton as we see the KVR as a key economic tourism driver for our community and the region. The Parliamentary Secretary informed us that they were putting a RFP out to get engineers to ascertain the total damage to the trail and to provide a total cost. This will allow the Province to approach the Federal Government for financial assistance.
I have the support of local industries to help supply the necessary, ministry approved, materials required to assist in repairs. I would also commit to lobby on behalf of the trail to any government agencies as well as any other involved parties in order to secure any needed support, materials and permitting required. If required, I would devote any time needed to help develop long range plans for repair and upkeep as well to keep our trail a destination for all to enjoy.
I would support, encourage, and promote any initiative(s) lending to the rebuilding of the damaged sections of that KVR Trail by actively engaging with involved parties and pursuing community support in Area H for the rebuilding efforts.
Continue to work with the Province i.e. Rec Sites and Trails and the RDOS staff to secure funding to repair or reconstruct the KVR. I met with Sites and Trails in May of 2022 to discuss damages and possible recovery plans. I have maintained communication with them as they continue to assess damage and seek financial resources.
3. Do you support the regional district/provincial government applying for grant funding in effort to secure the needed funds to repair the KVR trail?
I support and would assist with any help required for the regional district and the provincial government to apply for any funding available for the repairs of the KVR
Absolutely, grant funding is critical to accomplishing such a task and I would actively solicit such funding in a role as a Director of Area H. I would work closely with any group(s) to achieve such funding.
Yes, the KVR is a big economic driver for the entire Regional District.
4. Do you support the regional district/provincial government allocating annual funding and resources to maintain the KVR trail to ensure a lasting legacy?
The KVR is crown land as such the Province ultimately should be funding the ongoing maintenance of the KVR. When the licenses were given to local government to manage the maintenance on their behalf, they did not allocate adequate funding to do maintenance. This is part of a larger issue with Rec, Sites and Trails in our Province. As the KVR is part of the Trans-Canada Trail the Federal Government should also be allocating funding to the trail system. The taxpayers of the Regional District should not be held responsible for maintaining what amounts to a linier park system that connects the nation coast to coast to coast. I fully support senior levels of government allocating adequate annual funding to the ongoing maintenance of the KVR. I also support local government having the responsibility to maintain that trail system with the support from senior levels of government.
I do support and encourage the regional district and provincial government allocating annual funding as well as resources required to ensure the legacy of the KVR.
Again, I wholeheartedly support allocation of funding and resources to maintain the KVR Trail. Maintenance of the KVR Trail is fundamental and has been difficult to achieve in the past so stable funding supporting the ongoing stewardship is necessary. Allocation of annual funding will ensure the “lasting legacy” of the KVR Trail.
Yes, though we must advocate for continued and improved support from Provincial and Federal levels of government.
5. Do you support the RDOS Draft Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan released in June 2022?
Yes many hours of consultation and work has gone into the document since the process began in Spring of 2021. When speaking directly to your questions regarding the KVR each area of the trail addresses the needs, wants and wishes of the local areas. This is the best outcome for each community as it fits into their lifestyle and the culture of that area.
I do. The Parks, Trails and Recreation plan represents a clear direction that all wish to go when thinking of outdoor, healthy recreational activities in our region. Trails play an important role in my community when it comes to economic growth and tourism and having the KVR in a state that is unusable really takes away from that industry. The majority of people I have spoken to about the trail echo this sentiment and feel it’s loss at this time really puts us at a disadvantage.
I cannot say whether or not I support the RDOS Draft Parks, Trails, and Recreation Master Plan that was released in June 2022 because at the time of writing this response I have not seen, nor reviewed the Plan. Generally speaking, I would most likely support a plan of this nature if it has provisions for repair of the KVR and other plans to improve, enhance, or create additional Parks, Trails, and Recreation amenities within the RDOS, especially Area H.
Yes, it is a very comprehensive, community driven, plan that encompasses both the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys.