FILE - David Lord captured the misty, snowy view from Mount Woodside looking southwest over the Fraser River in January 2018. (David Lord/Submitted photo)

Mount Woodside bike trail planning underway

With this week’s Council approval, planning can begin

The Mount Woodside Mountain Bike trail took another step forward during this week’s District of Kent council meeting.

Council approved the recommendations from the Parks, Recreation and Trails Committee to make the mountain bike trail the top priority of the committee.

According to councilor Susan Spaeti, this means staff members can start planning preliminary budgets, which will then be forwarded to the district’s finance officials. The finance department may be ready to present its findings to the council within the next month or two.

A few weeks ago, the Parks, Recreation and Trails Committee met with council, recommending a $50,000 budget for the trail’s construction. No financial commitment will actually be made until council has fully approved it.

Spaeti said planning for the trail is still in its very early stages. The trail is on Crown land, which means working with regional, provincial and First Nations authorities to ensure the land is not ecologically or archaeologically sensitive, not to mention making sure the land is safe enough for riders.

RELATED:District of Kent committee makes Mount Woodside bike trails a top priority

“There are so many different steps we still have to go through,” Spaeti said.

“It’s a brand new initiative in our area,” said Jennifer Thornton, district Director of Community Services and Projects. “We’re working with the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA), who has done plenty of similar trails in Chilliwack and Abbotsford.”

Following the budget approval and attaining the authorization needed to build the trail, the actual trail building would require the help of volunteers.

The voluntary support for completing the trail seems to be there if social media is any indication. Back in November, Spaeti’s fellow committee member Daniel Huesken created a post on the Facebook group “Harrison-Kent Mountain Bike Trails” that saw quite a bit of support for the project among riders. Huesken even took it upon himself to scout out the area to determine potential paths.

SEE ALSO: Woodside Mountain: How its name originated

“They seem really gung-ho,” Spaeti said of the volunteers Huesken gathered. She added the members of the group seemed to like to design the trails almost as they like to ride them.

On the Parks, Recreation and Trails Committee priority list as approved by council, there were two other items that fell below the Mount Woodside trail: the Green Grind parking lot and the dyke trails.

The pursuit of the Mount Woodside Mountain Bike trail stemmed most recently from an April presentation from the FVMBA to the district council. During the presentation, the FVMBA advised approval for trails could be expedited if a government agency — as opposed to a private organization — submits an application for it.

RELATED:Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

The mountain bike trail project will have to pass through the hands of several authorities on its way to realization, including the Fraser Valley Regional District, Ministry of Forests, First Nations and Land and Natural Resource Operations.

If you are interested in volunteering to help plan the trail or getting training to help build it, contact Thornton at the District of Kent at 604-796-2235 or contact the FVMBA at [email protected]

[email protected]

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