School District 83 has been asked to enter an agreement with the City of Salmon Arm for the care of well-used trails on school properties.
The request to the school board came from the Shuswap Trail Alliance (STA), which is working with the city to bring several trails on school campuses into Salmon Arm’s Greenways strategy for pedestrian planning.
STA executive director Jen Bellhouse explained that because the trails are on school property, the city has been unable to maintain or sign or develop them.
“At this point, nobody is asking for any major changes to be made to the trails – just to be able to maintain them and sign them properly,” said Bellhouse.
In a report to the school board, STA operations manager Adrian Bostock explained first steps involve surveying the school properties to identify the official agreed upon trail line for each.
“A formal right-of-way agreement between the City of Salmon Arm and SD83 will be required, which will allow the city to assume liability and upgrade the trail routes to the Shuswap Trail Alliance standard, which follows the Recreation Sites and Trail BC and Whistler trail standards,” said Bostock in the report.
One of the trails being looked at runs from the east end of McGuire Lake Park, along the south periphery of the Jackson campus to the school’s parking lot. It’s considered part of the Turner Creek Trail, which connects to uptown Salmon Arm. Under the agreement, the Jackson portion would be added to Salmon Arm’s Greenways maintenance budget and maintained as a type 2 trail through the school district property. A type 2 trail is single or double track, machine built, with all embedded obstacles removed and fine crushed limestone and compacted gravel placed on the surface.
As it would be difficult to direct pedestrian traffic away from the parking lot, the STA suggests it could create a trail along the edge of the parking lot, “taking the most desired pedestrian route in consideration for the trail alignment.”
Another trail runs from the back of Bastion Elementary towards and along the back of the Sullivan campus, coming out at 20th Avenue NE. The STA proposes upgrading this trail to a crush gravel type 2 trail.
At Bastion, most of a trail that runs along the west side of the school to the back field is paved. Only a short section along the field fence, a type 2 trail, would need to be added into the city’s trail maintenance budget.
A popular trail at Shuswap Middle School runs along the treed area at the south end of the property, connecting 30th Street SE to 27th Street SE.
“The trail alignment through the Shuswap Middle School campus will need further trail planning and will be a type 3 trail near the pond on the south end of the property connecting 27th St. SE to 30th St. SE,” reads the report. “There is also an opportunity to connect 5th Ave. SE to 27th St. SE via an easement between two houses onto City of Salmon Arm parkland.”
Under the agreement, the STA is suggesting a phased approach, beginning with the Jackson campus trail this year, the Sullivan campus trail in 2024, the middle school trail in 2025 and the Bastion trail in 2026.
Once complete, explained Bostock, these trails should be suitable for pedestrians, bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs as terrain permits.
“This will involve trail upgrades and improvements, installing wayfinding and informational signage, and ongoing maintenance,” said Bostock. “The city would ensure that the necessary maintenance was completed on an ongoing basis, most often by contracting the STA to complete the work.”
Bell and Bostock made a presentation to the school district board at its March 14 meeting. The school district said staff will look into easements and develop a motion for a future board meeting.
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