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,
Back Country Horsemen of BC