Welcome to the Xget'tem' Trail in Kamloops

The city’s $3.7-million, 1.7-kilometre paved pathway linking Sahali with downtown has been in use for weeks, but Monday saw members of Kamloops and Tk’emlups council gather for the official opening

The Peterson Creek multi-use pathway officially opened on Monday morning and the ribbon cutting came with a new moniker: Xget’tem’ Trail.

The name for the 1.7-kilometre paved stretch connecting pedestrians and bikers between Sahali and downtown means “deep valley” in Secwepemc and pays tribute to the area’s historical ties to the Shuswap people.

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“It’s in honour of them that we stand here today,” Mayor Ken Christian told a group of dignitaries at the trail head on Glenfair Drive. “It really reflects on the history of this particular territory.”

Tk’emlups Coun. Jeanette Jules, whose portfolio includes natural resources, said the valley’s edible and medicinal plants are “highly significant.” In addition, she said, trails accessed since time immemorial connect from the South Thompson River to lakes and forests south of Kamloops..

“A lot of our community members still utilize this trail and will continue, just like everyone else,” Jules said.

More than a connection to the Secwepemc, the trail now connects pedestrians and bikers between Sahali and downtown — a significant safety improvement over the previous route along bustling Columbia Street.

Christian said the project has been years in the making, dating back to city transportation, biking and trail plans. While the official opening was on Monday, the pathway opened to the last month and the city has tracked usage.

The peak day saw 511 users — a number Christian expects will continue to grow now that the path is officially open.

“This is a fabulous addition to the infrastructure in the City of Kamloops,” Christian said.

The project was not, however, without challenges, running over budget by $350,000 and behind schedule. Topography limited options and groundwater was more excessive than pre-construction studies initially determined, requiring more work to ensure slope stability. City of Kamloops utilities engineer Liam Baker said the city has no concerns long term.

“When we’re building this stuff, we’re trying to make sure that we’re building it properly,” he told KTW. “So, if it means a little more up front costs during construction, then unfortunately, that’s what we have to do because the path is designed to be in place for 40, 60-plus years. It’s basically a permanent piece of infrastructure, so we did try to make sure we got it right in the first place.”

A Bike BC grant of $1 million was used toward the $3.7-million cost of the path.

Future phases will further connect Bestwick Drive and McGill Road and further up Summit Drive.

“It will be the Tom Moore Trail on steroids when it’s done,” Christian said, referencing a popular trail in Peterson Creek Park.

No timeline for additional phases of the project could be provided, with Christian noting the city will have a difficult tax year ahead. The trail will be maintained by the civic operations department through the winter, in the same manner as other paved paths, including Rivers Trail, are maintained.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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