Popkum Community Trail part of upgrade

Popkum trail's new cedar steps were part of a provincial work experience program in Fraser Valley

Seventy-nine new cedar stairs were built on a steep section of the Popkum Community Trail to improve walkers’ experiences over the mountain to the viewing platform overlooking Cheam Lake Wetlands.

That benefit is part of an initiative over the last six months that had workers making a number of improvements to trails and amenities in the Fraser Valley region as a result of $320,000 in provincial funding through the Community and Employer Partnership program.

The Experience the Fraser trail system has been expanded and enhanced throughout the Popkum, Chilliwack and Mission areas, giving five people work experience that will benefit residents and visitors in the outdoors.

“I want to congratulate the workers, and the project partners, on the fine job they did by improving the Experience the Fraser experience. Visitors, locals and all outdoor enthusiasts will benefit from this wonderful outdoor experience that people of all ages can enjoy,” said Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope in a press release.

The program also resurfaced eight kilometres of the dyke from Jesperson Road to the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge for ease of accessibility and three gates were installed to give walkers, cyclists and horseback riders use of the Experience the Fraser trail.

Project participants have gained skills in landscaping, carpentry, painting and chainsaw use. They also have received First Aid certification.

Experience the Fraser is a recreational, cultural and heritage project that extends along the Lower Fraser River Corridor connecting Hope to the Salish Sea. Over 550 kilometres of Experience the Fraser trails (43 per cent of which are already in place) and blueways will connect communities along the Fraser River.

Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.

The Community and Employer Partnerships program provides support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.

To date, more than 900 job seekers have benefited from work experience and 195 projects have been funded throughout the province.