By Robert Paterson and Claire Kerrigan
After 30 years of work and waiting, the ‘linear park’ on the old CPR rail line between Foster and Knowlton is virtually complete. The two new bridges over Trestle Cove have received their finishing touches and walkers, bicyclists and/or skiers are now able to enjoy a scenic trip along the side of the lake and through wooded terrain and wetlands.
This project began in 1989, when TBL purchased the rail bed of the old CP line from Foster to Victoria St. in Knowlton from the province for the price of $1. The parcel of land was 9 km long and approximately 99 feet wide. In total, it was 2,378,689 square feet and was evaluated in 1993 at between $1 and $3 per square foot.
In a municipal referendum in1990, the town voted 90 per cent in favour of maintaining ownership of the whole property from Foster to Victoria street, and the section from Victoria to Douglass Beach was levelled and resurfaced. The question was what to do with the section between Douglass Beach and Foster. To complete the project, a number of bridges would have to be built, and the largest would be two over Trestle Cove. Council was divided but Councillor Michael Caluori, then responsible for social programs, was asked to create a plan for the full path. A detailed plan was developed and funding of $596,000 was approved. But 730 people objected, forcing a referendum in 1995. The proposal was defeated by a majority of 56 per cent to 44 per cent. A compromise was reached by which the town would keep the land and wait for a later opportunity to complete the path. Eventually this opportunity came and, a spectacular scenic trail is now open to all.