Readers sound off on trails

Three letters to the editor regarding proposed trails connecting Aldergrove Lake and Campbell Valley parks

To pay for trail, let’s licence horses

Editor:

On Feb. 13, during the regular afternoon council meeting,  council was to consider approving funding of $50,000 in 2012 for the South Langley Regional Trail and $450,000 in 2013.

This was initially for a horse trail from Campbell Valley Park out to Aldergrove Lake. But it has now become “cutesy” with additions such as a walking trail, jogging trail and a biking trail.

There was a study done several years ago counting the horse population. I believe less than five per cent of today’s population actually own a horse.

If a referendum was taken on your tax notice, come July, this definitely would not be given a go ahead. Campbell Valley Park has plenty of trails. By the way they do not allow bike riding in Campbell Valley Park because it spooks the horses, so what makes this trail any different?

I know the majority of this council very well and I know that this will be given the green light, even though we have pot holes on 16 Avenue, crumbling roads all over our municipality and long-overdue crosswalks.

Give your head a shake. Is this the best use of taxpayers’ money?

So the least we taxpayers could ask for is that horses be licensed like dogs, after all they are both under the same bylaw.  The money obtained could then go towards projects like this. This would show a more user-pay attitude, rather than a non-user burden on the taxpayers.

Dennis Townsend, Langley

There’s money for trails but none for Aldergrove Lake

Editor:

It makes me furious when I read of the equestrian trails being considered for Campbell Valley and Aldergrove Lake.

Aldergrove Lake was closed with little opposition.

The reason given was that there was no money in the budget to rebuild it and that was that.

Now it seems that almost a million dollars over two years is being considered for equestrian trails, which is surely an elitist sport.

Dennis Towsend cites five per cent as the number of people who own horses, but the number of people who would actually use these trails would be a great deal smaller. Those enjoying equestrian pursuits, with the money and clout that comes with it, should find private land to practice their sport.

Aldergrove Lake was a place that was used by thousands of people.

I can’t tell you how many wonderful days we and many, many others spent enjoying swimming, playing, building sand castles, having hot dogs and popsicles, and in the evening —  picnics and barbecues.

Any trails built at Aldergrove Lake should be available for walking, jogging, and bike riding.

Money now suddenly available in the budget would be better spent rebuilding this great facility as it was — free to everyone.

Heather Watt, Langley

South Langley trail always meant to be multi-use

Editor:

I am writing this letter concerning a proposal from the Aldergrove chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of BC to Langley Township council to extend the South Langley Regional Trail from 256 Street, where it now ends, to connect to Aldergrove Lake Park.

Opposition to the project seems to be based on a number of inaccuracies that the Aldergrove chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of BC would be more than happy to clarify, in an effort to ensure that all Langley residents have the benefit of factual and up-to-date information.

The South Langley Regional Trail, approved by council many years ago to connect Campbell Valley Regional Park to Aldergrove Lake Park, is not and was never intended to be only a horse trail. It is a well-used recreational corridor popular with dog walkers, joggers, recreational cyclists and equestrians.

The new section will also be a multi-use trail that will benefit the entire community, not just equestrians. If built, it will be designed by Township staff in consultation with a number of user groups to safely accommodate all those groups who have signed onto the proposal and project. This makes it a true partnership.

Contrary to the belief that the cost of trail completion will be borne entirely by Township taxpayers, we would like to point out that we will be seeking funding from multiple sources — both public and private — to offset construction costs. Council made it clear it expects trail users to partner with the municipality on this project, and we wholeheartedly agreed to do so.

The Back Country Horsemen and others will provide volunteers to help build and maintain this new section of trail under the direct guidance of, and in partnership with, Langley Township.

It should be made clear that equestrians and cyclists do share trails. They’ve been doing so for many many years on the trails at Aldergrove Lake Park, the South Langley Regional Trail and on many other trails throughout the Lower Mainland.

The contention that expansion of Aldergrove’s inventory of trails does not have taxpayer support is not accurate. We’ve received a lot of support for this proposal, much of it coming from non-horse people and community groups, who see the development of multi-use recreational trails as a worthwhile investment in the health and quality of life of our community.

Peter Thiessen, vice-chair, Aldergrove chapter, Back Country Horsemen of BC