Looping of the Friendship Trail Meeting Clarifies Proposal

The Healthy Development group continued their conversation last night at the Turner Valley Golf Club with approximately thirty people joining the discussion.

After dispelling the many unfounded rumours about costs and annexation of land, the discussion turned to more positive issues.

Chris Weingarth pointed out that the looping of the Friendship Trail and adding approximately 10 klms of pathways would enhance the overall health and vitality of the community for both residents and visitors. He noted that David Petrovich, the Town of Black Diamond’s Economic Development Officer, is hoping to put the area on the map via Health and Wellness, a very forthright message being put out by both Black Diamond and Turner Valley.

Including a portion of the Turner Valley Golf Club, north of the clubhouse, would complete the loop and provide a place for a break and maybe coffee and food.

The consensus was that the trails should be cleared and ‘walkable’ but not paved. A suggestion was put forward that perhaps where necessary they could be covered with bark or mulch, primarily to delineate them. This would ensure minimal costs are involved and a very attainable dollar figure from fundraising, sponsorship and grants.

The path these trails will take has not been decided because the conversation to explore their viability has only just begun. Several members of the group have walked a few different ways and will be putting together a map of suggested routes that will be used for further discussion.

All of the land that these trails will cross is already owned by one of four entities: the Town of Black Diamond, the Town of Turner Valley, the M.D. of Foothills and the Turner Valley Golf Course. Once a few possible routes have been chosen then permission to cross the land will be sought from the landowners.

A concern about liability was raised and it was noted that this is being considered and investigated. It was also pointed out that most walking trails in other communities have clear signage stating “Use at your own risk”.

The suggestion that the formation of a group called the “Friends of the Friendship Trail” to organize volunteers, sponsors and fundraisers was met with several people pointing out their effectiveness. Diane Osberg commented that there are many “Friends” groups that support walking paths in other communities. She cited Kananaskis, High River, Canmore, Olds and Cardston as just a few and that the Friends of the Sheep River Library were able to raise $250,000 in just a year and a half.

Another very valid point was that these trails could become year-round paths suitable for the growing interest in snow-shoeing. Diane also pointed out that the Sheep River Library walking group, The Ramblers, already has over 160 active members who would certainly enjoy the proposed trails for both walking and snow-shoeing.

The next meeting of the Healthy Development group will be on Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 pm.