Rivers Trail closure should never have come to this

Two & Out
By James Peters
December 14, 2015 - 1:41pm

This week's decision by Kamloops council to close a stretch of the Rivers Trail near the Yellowhead Bridge was at the same time wise and a little sad.

Certainly, it's easy to understand why council should be reluctant to spend nearly $100-thousand to rebuild this section of trail.

It isn't a necessary pathway as a connection between two other sections and staff say it's often the second choice of users, behind the multi-purpose bridge over the CP Rail tracks.

Not only that, the water causing erosion is flowing off of the bridge itself which is the responsibility of the provincial transportation ministry.

The ministry has no desire - and apparently no obligation - to do anything about it.

Taking all of those factors into account, closing the section of trail seems to be the only viable option available to the city.

So the sad part wasn't Tuesday's decision; it was the years of erosion leading up to it.

The erosion didn't take place due to one major storm event, like the July 2014 storm that hit the rest of the city so hard.

In this case it happened slowly, over a long period of time.

The city has thousands of assets it is tasked with maintaining - everything from trails like this one to parks, to recreation facilities, to vehicles.

All of those assets can be preserved far beyond what their monetary value would suggest, if they are maintained properly.

The precedent the city has set with how this trail was maintained - or not maintained - is a dubious one.

Did staff determine this section of trail was not worth keeping up, thanks to its lack of use?

If so, what other city asset might be similarly neglected on a judgement call?

Taxpayers need to ask those questions to ensure their dollars are going absolutely as far as they can, and to ensure the amenities they consider important aren't destined to be closed for good.