FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At the recent Committee of the Whole Meeting, City staff made a presentation to Council members regarding the Fish Creek Trails, the current state of the closed Silviculture Trail and how to make improvements to the trails.
A portion of the Fish Creek trail system has been closed for approximately 5 years. The Fish Creek Trails located in the Community Forrest behind the Northern Lights College is a popular outside destination for users of the trails to get outside and be in nature.
The closure of Silviculture trail was due to sliding from the above slope and the damage and debris of fallen trees from the years of being left unattended.
City staff with the help of Urban Systems retained SNC Lavalin to review and provide their input regarding the stability of the slope and recommendations for the Silviculture Trail. What SNC Lavalin shared is that the primary issue with the Silviculture trail due to the erosion of the hillside above the trail, that the toe of the slope will continue to erode over the years.
The two methods SNC Lavalin suggested fixing the trail would have a significant impact on the surroundings and would be a high cost to the City. The construction of a new trail network was presented as an alternative suggestion as well as proposing the permanent closure of the Silviculture trail.
Robin Langille, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the City of Fort St. John shared in his presentation to Council the potential new trails would increase the length of the trail network and increase connectivity through the trails.
An internal loop trail or the figure 8 trail was recognized as a potential solution to the trail system as Langille shares they found a trail that the footing of the trail has already had alignment and grading created, going on to share it has probably been used by people yet the ‘entranceway’ to the trail was not so noticeable and would require being opened up.
Once the presentation was completed, Mayor Lori Ackerman voiced her concerns with the new trail addressed in the presentation that might actually have been created by Wildlife. Ackerman shares she wants to keep both wildlife and users of the trails separate from each other, to keep both safe by limiting opportunities to have surprise interactions. Ackerman goes on to share the City needs to know in fact, if this is a game trail by involving a B.C. Conservation Officer or someone with Wildlife experience before the City staff proceeds with implementing the new trail system.
Until the City staff are advised by a Wildlife Professional, the professional’s opinion will determine if they can proceed if this is not a game trail or the plans will have to be revisited if it is.
Council passed a motion that the Silviculture trail would now be closed permanently for public use and that City staff engage with local wildlife experts to look at the new trail and other options.
To view the presentation; CLICK HERE
To view the Request for Direction; CLICK HERE