Ashcroft businessman Jim Duncan presented six pages of signatures and a letter of support from the Desert Hills TRY(athalon) Club to Council, asking to have a walking path along Evans Rd. included in the Village’s Official Community Plan.
Duncan made the pitch at the Feb. 25 Council meeting, backed by about 10 supporters who attended the meeting.
The petition also asked for permanent public access to the slough, located across the road from the entrance to Ashcroft Terminal.
“This area has been part of Ashcroft’s heritage and history for over 100 years and needs to be kept that way forever,” he said, pointing out that in the event that changes are made to the road to accommodate increased traffic to the inland port, it would be easier to put in trails and access before things were built, rather than after.
“It is far easier to put an underpas under any new tracks that may be laid for the port now, than do it after the fact,” said Duncan, acknowledging that it was illegal to walk or drive across the tracks to get to the slough, as people currently do.
“We don’t want to be told this is not possible,” he said. “We want to know how it can be done.”
Mayor Andy Anderson said it is the intention of the property owner to maintain public access to the slough, but he has to arrange it with CN first.
Anderson said that plans at Ashcroft Terminal are moving ahead quite quickly at the moment, and invited Duncan to speak to the property owner next time he is in town to update Council.
He told Duncan that he wasn’t the first to come before Council to request a walking path along Evans “Slough” Road. The road is within the Village boundary, he said, so taxpayers will pay for any upgrades made to it. He didn’t say that it couldn’t be done.
Coun. Jackie Tegart thanked Duncan and his supporters for their presentation, saying that it was better to hear these requests before plans were made rather than after.
She suggested that Council pay to have a study done to see whether a trail is possible, how much it would cost and how it can be accomplished.