The Shuswap Trail Alliance (STA) received financial support and kudos from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District at the Sept. 17 board meeting in Salmon Arm.
Directors unanimously approved $40,000 per year from the parks budget for a four-year term in operational funding, plus an annual provincial consumer price index increase to a maximum of two per cent annually.
CSRD has been involved in a three-year pilot project with the alliance at the $40,000 level that expires Dec. 31.
“The STA has excelled in creating partnerships with volunteer groups and organizations and has collaborated extensively with First Nations, building strong relationships to foster trail development,” wrote Community Services team leader Ryan Nitchie in his report to the board. “The STA has also built a strong contingent of volunteers and stewards whose efforts and in-kind contributions toward trail maintenance and development is invaluable.”
Thanking Trail Alliance co-ordinator Phil McIntyre Paul, who was in the gallery, Salmon Arm director Chad Eliason said the organization has done many more intangible things for Salmon Arm and CSRD in terms of government relations, setting of standards for the province and community and First Nations relations – “all the work he has done to make us look good and bring the province together.”
But Eliason noted he supported the four-year contract, noting that while he wanted the work to continue, it gives the next board the opportunity to continue or withdraw support.
“As the second largest contributor in the region, I am happy with what is being done,” said Area F North Shuswap director Larry Morgan.
Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper said the benefits have extended beyond trail building and maintenance.
“It has resulted in a number of events being held here, and now we have the Healthy Communities initiative,” she said. “I do believe Salmon Arm is better for all the work that has been done.”
Area E Rural Sicamous director and board chair Rhona Martin echoed the praise delivered by other directors.
“I am grateful for your ability to share your knowledge when we are negotiating our way through some tricky things,” she said. “At the end of the day, we have healthier people and people are coming to spend their dollars here.”