Kimberley Council will support trail development proposal

Trails Society could monitor watershed activity, Council believes

The Mark and Matthew Creek Advisory Committee has been discussing a proposal for a Bootleg Trail that will cut across one corner of the Matthew Creek watershed out toward Bootleg Mountain.

This week Kimberley City Council voted to support the Mark and Matthew Creek Watershed Advisory Committee working with Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, Recreation Sites and Trails (RSTBC) to draft a detailed trail development and management plan for the trail.

Recreation of any type in Kimberley’s watersheds is an issue that has risen more than once, and generally Council has voted not to support it, for example a company looking for a tenure for snowmobile tours through the Mark Creek watershed was denied two years ago. There are other activities in the watersheds which the City cannot control, logging being the primary one.

There was concern from Council. Albert Hoglund who has sat on the watershed committee for many years believes supporting any kind of recreation in Matthew Creek is a slippery slope that will lead to more recreation in the larger Mark Creek watershed as well.

However, Mayor Don McCormick says that in this case there is a recognition that the Trails Society will have an opportunity to monitor activity. All the City has done thus far, he said, is support the development of the plan.

There are already old trails in that area, McCormick says, the plan will bring them up to standards and provide ongoing maintenance.

“It’s a trail to Bootleg that cuts across one corner of the watershed. It’s not a high risk site.”

However, he acknowledges that it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes activity in the watershed.

“The fear is that increased watershed activity could lead to a requirement for a water purification plant. There would be lots of benefits to a plant like that, no more turbidity issues for one, but the cost is huge.”