EDITORIAL: ‘Experience’ can wait

The provincial government continues to throw millions of dollars towards Experience the Fraser, a plan to link existing parks and trails.

The provincial government continues to throw millions of dollars towards Experience the Fraser, a plan to link existing parks and trails along both sides of the river from Vancouver to Hope.

Most of the money, $2.5 million initially, went towards developing a concept plan – mapping out the hiking and biking trail links.

But because of private property – some of it occupied by industrial businesses, such as saw mills, and even more of it being native land – the proposed trail has to go around them, for now. While connected by a line on a map, the trail in some areas would consist only of a road shoulder and some signs indicating the route. So it’s not really one, long connected trail, but a series of independent existing ones.

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes suggests a small park fee be added to municipal taxes to purchase private riverfront property if or when it becomes available, to expand the route and fill in the gaps.

It’s a nice idea, but a costly one. And would such a trail, if completed, really attract tourists? Where’s the economic return if they’re just bypassing through towns?

Remember the Trans Canada Trail? Who uses it? Who cares?

Fraser Valley residents have a plethora of trails they use in abundance already – and some make up part of the Trans Canada Trail and Experience the Fraser.

Metro Vancouver says little money is currently available for pursuing the Experience trail system, which would require many, many millions to complete.

In the present economic climate, this has to be a lower priority.

Keep investing modestly in regional parks development and maintenance. Experience the Fraser can wait.

– Black Press

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