Group wants council back in the saddle on South Langley Regional Trail

Project ‘has been on Langley’s to-do list for many years’

Carleigh Patterson leads the Backcountry Horsemen of B.C.’s BC 150 Ride along a trail near the Sumas River in 2008.

Carleigh Patterson leads the Backcountry Horsemen of B.C.’s BC 150 Ride along a trail near the Sumas River in 2008.

There could be happier trails ahead for area residents who enjoy using the South Langley Regional Trail.

Langley resident Peter Thiessen, vice-chair of the Aldergrove chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of BC and an RCMP sergeant, represented interested trail users as a delegation to Township council last Monday (Jan. 16).

Thiessen told council the province-wide Back Country Horsemen is a non-profit organization with more than 750 members, but noted that they’re not the only ones using and enjoying the South Langley Regional Trail.

Hikers, cyclists, dog walkers, joggers and others share the route with trail riders and many are interested in the stewardship of the area and in preserving and enhancing the use of public lands for everyone, Thiessen said.

Thiessen requested funds be made available in 2012 to complete the unfinished trail, which currently ends at 256 Street and 8 Avenue.

“The trail was intended to connect Campbell Valley Regional Park to Aldergrove Lake Park, but it currently ends at 256th,” Thiessen said.

“The project was approved by a previous council and has been on the Township of Langley’s ‘to-do’ list for many years.”

Built in 1995, the improvements to the South Langley Regional Trail — meant to follow off-road sections of land that use right-of-ways and easements — will cost around $500,000. Construction of the new trail is expected to be handled by Township staff in consultation with a variety of user groups.

Thiessen asked council to set $50,000 aside for the project in 2012, to start the improvements and completion of the quiet, back country trail.

“We’re asking you to fund this long overdue project so the entire community can enjoy a new trail,” Thiessen concluded.

Councillor Charlie Fox was interested in how much Thiessen and other trail supporters could raise in donations or volunteer work, should council approve the $50,000 in 2012. Thiessen said he and other supporters would work hard to garner as much financial or volunteer support as possible.

After the meeting, Thiessen said he “is hopeful” that council will allocate the needed funds during budget meetings (preliminary budget meetings started last Wednesday).

While going over the draft capital budget Thursday, Councillors Steve Ferguson and Fox requested that the South Langley Regional Trail be “flagged,” so that it will be placed on a list of budget items to be discussed when council starts budget discussions. Feb. 1.