Cash in hand, group seeks land redesignation for rail line to pathway project
Opposition exists and the county has to sign off
Chirping birds supply the soundtrack as Jeannette Richter of the Meadowlark Trail Society imagines what it could look like once it's developed.
"I see young moms with strollers, I see families with children on bikes, I see students from Irricana who attend Beiseker school, riding their bikes to school," Richter told CBC News.
Richter is part of a group of Beiseker and Irricana residents hoping to turn an abandoned rail line into a recreational pathway.
The Canadian Pacific Railway built the line in 1910. It was de-commissioned in the 1990s and donated to the Trans Canada Trail in 1999.
The society says it has money to build bridges, a culvert and put down crushed rock to make a 10-kilometre corridor between Beiseker and Irricana.
But first, society member Heidi Hagel says, they have to ask Rocky View County for a land use bylaw redesignation.
"So our hopes are to get into the county this summer before their summer break to give time for those things to happen," Hagel said.
The trail would go through the properties of 24 landowners and Richter says there are five who are against the development.
"We've had open houses and we've been in contact with the adjacent landowners and we have listened to what their concerns are and we have put in place mitigation and plans to address their issues," Hagel said.
Among the concerns is the possibility of garbage left along the trail, and a loss of privacy.
If the society can overcome objections and get the land redesignation, they hope to see the trail in use by next year.
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With files from CBC's Terri Trembath