Dutch Lake beach is one of the locations that will be getting a new walkway constructed to make access more convenient for beachgoers. Photo by Jaime Polmateer

New walking paths will make community safer, more accessible

District of Clearwater anticipates construction will begin in the late summer or early fall

The District of Clearwater (DOC) has received a grant from the Rural Dividend Fund, which will be used to make more multi-use pathways for the community.

The pathways slated for construction include a safety connector from the roundabout on Highway 5 to the Wyndhaven subdivision, an accessibility trail to the Dutch Lake beach with a two-car paved handicap parking pad as well as nearly 5 km of mountain bike trails.

“The first main trail the DOC is getting funded for is from the roundabout to Wyndhaven subdivision, which will basically mirror the standards of the Park Drive trail and it’s connecting a section of town from the roundabout, passed the Hop and Hog to the one denser residential neighbourhood on that side of the highway,” said Mayor Merlin Blackwell.

“It’s good in a lot of ways because that’s the main road into the park and for safety issues, people are (currently) walking right on the road shoulder; there are a lot of distracted tourists, so we’re getting them off the road shoulder, into a safe path that a lot of people walk anyways, so it’s a good location and it’s another part of the trails network we’re trying to build around town.”

The need for this path is particularly high because walking on the shoulder of Clearwater Valley Road between the roundabout and Wyndhaven subdivision causes a safety issue with it being such a high traffic area.

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“There are a lot of moms with strollers walking in that area, and other people who walk it every morning, so even things like vehicle tires throwing rocks is a potential concern,” Blackwell said.

“It’ll also give it more of a neighbourhood feel so people slow down.”

The second trail being constructed will make life easier for those who visit Dutch Lake beach, as access down to the water is quite steep and will work as a mobility path from the washroom buildings to the gazebo area below.

Blackwell added this trail also has the potential for future modifications that would give nearly full access for those with mobility issues who want to access the lake.

“I’ve seen a few examples of water accesses for wheelchairs, people with canes and that sort of thing, that are like semi-permanent boardwalks or cement slopes, and I think that could be added to it, so somebody could feasibly go from the parking lot right into the lake,” Blackwell said.

“Working in Wells Gray (Park), we’ve had people who are paraplegics go kayaking; they’ll get down the path to Myrtle Lake, get into their kayaks and go, and I think with a little help from friends that would be quite feasible to do once this thing is in place.”

Planning for these trails began last summer, and Blackwell said the district anticipates construction will begin in the late summer or early fall.



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