Proposed changes to river valley trail system irks trail riders

Some river valley trail-users are upset over proposed changes to a narrow path south of Terwillegar Park.
Some Edmonton trail-users are upset over proposed changes that would see a small path near Terwillegar Park converted into a three-metre-wide gravel thoroughfare. (CBC)

Some river valley trail-users are upset over proposed changes to a narrow path south of Terwillegar Park.

“In the summer, it's a great mountain biking trail. It's one of the best in the city,” said mountain biker Joe Yurkovich. “Up and down, lots of twists and turns. It's a nice fast trail.

Currently, the trail in question is not an official city trail but the city is considering changing that by adding gravel and expanding it to 3 metres wide.

“This is actually part of a much larger project called the River Valley Alliance Projects and those are projects about connectivity and accessibility in the river valley,” said Rob Marchak, Director of Urban Planning for the city. “And this is one part of them.”  

Rob Marchak, the city's director of urban planning, said it has been a challenge proposing trail changes that will suit all users. (CBC)

Together, the projects would see changes to water access throughout the valley as well as 25 new kilometres of trails good news to some, but worrying for those who like the narrow trail the way it is.  

“It would take away the use for certain groups,” said Yurkovich. “The mountain bikers and trail runners and hikers. They would make it more accessible but not completely accessible.”

Marchak says the city wants everyone to be able to enjoy the trail, but admits it will be difficult to please all trail-users.

“It's a challenge clearly it's a challenge. This portion of it is about the granular trail, and that's the focus of what we've been working on. But we are in discussions about other options.”

Trail rider Harvey Brauer hopes one of those options might be a path that's safer for bicyclists.

“Why not give us an alternative? Why not build us another single track that's as good?”

An environmental assessment has been scheduled for April 8 to discuss the possible changes.


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