The Revelstoke Cycling Association is looking for the city’s help to finance its trail maintenance program. The RCA is hoping city council will consider adding trail maintenance to the city’s operating budget. The trails are maintained by the RCA but are used by various local groups from mountain bikers to hikers and trail runners.
Robyn Goldsmith, RCA membership director and Carol Prince, RCA secretary, made a presentation at the Jan. 23 regular council meeting. The group is asking for $25,000 in funding from the city to help with payroll expenses. The city has previously provided financial support to the RCA through the tourism infrastructure funding.
The future of the Resort Municipality Initiative funding has been in limbo for several years as the provincial government deliberates on the future of the program.
“We are glad to see the City of Revelstoke sees what an asset having the trails is,” said Goldsmith. “We are looking for ways to secure ongoing trail maintenance.”
Video: RCA delegates Robyn Goldsmith and Carol Prince present to council Jan. 23
Goldsmith noted the RCA is finding it increasingly difficult to secure funding for trail maintenance. Many of the funding programs accessible to the RCA are for capital projects. Trail maintenance is becoming increasingly important as membership numbers for 2017 increased by 30% to 550, up from 300 in 2016. Goldsmith said 500 of those members live in Revelstoke.
“With all that activity the trail maintenance is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. I’m not sure where this is going to be going, but nobody underestimates how important biking is to the community,” said Mayor Mark McKee.
Councillor Connie Brothers asked about a trail pass program, saying it is important to look at a long-term strategy for trail maintenance.
Prince said the RCA is looking to have better integration with the city. Goldsmith said the idea of the trail pass was explored but is not likely to work since it is not part of the cycling culture. Other options discussed by the RCA included tacking on a maintenance fee for bike rentals or creating a cycle tourism welcome package people could purchase. She also emphasized people should be purchasing a club membership if they are riding the trails.
“We’re hoping to have a cooperative corporation going forward,” she said.
Revelstoke city councillors voted to refer the decision on funding to Thursday’s Committee of the Whole budget meeting.