Thirty-seven years ago, the Kimberley Rotary Club completed the Marysville Falls Al Fabro Walkway, dedicated in honour of Al Fabro, the first Rotary District 5080 Governor from Kimberley (1964 to 1965). The 300 metre walkway is used to access one of Kimberley’s significant attractions, Marysville Falls.
The walkway starts where highway 95A crosses Mark Creek and is easily recognized by the large Rotary Sign at the Trail Head and also by Rotary signage at the observation point above the Falls.
Over the years, the Kimberley Rotary Club has undertaken spring clean-up along the walkway and the City of Kimberley has undertaken repairs and maintenance as needed. However, it is now nearing the end of its useful lifespan and is not accessible for those with limited mobility.
This summer, the Kimberley Rotary Club contracted with ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd. to help determine the feasibility of rebuilding the Marysville Falls Walkway to make it safer and accessible to everyone. The first phase, a topographic survey and assembly of existing information has been completed. The second phase, developing a preliminary structural design is underway. The third and final phase, the detailed design and feasibility report is expected to be completed this month.
Once that report is received, and if the project is deemed feasible, the real work of fundraising begins, says Kimberley Rotarian Patrick Barclay.
“We think we are somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200,000,” he said.
Not only is lumber expensive, but the grade where you enter the walkway is 21 per cent, far too steep for a wheelchair, he says.
“We’re looking at some sort of switchback there,” Barclay said.
It’s a lot of funds for a small club to raise, but Kimberly Rotary has proven their fundraising abilities before.
“Even the engineering study was $19,000, but we raised those funds. The splash park was $340,000.”
Barclay says it is likely there will be a year of fundraising before actual work starts, although some fencing repairs may be done before that.
“It’s a big project, but this is a major Kimberley attraction, one that all families can enjoy.”
Community support for the project should be strong, Barclay says the Trails Society has indicated support as has Purcell International School.