Letter to the Editor – Residents respond to the RCA letter regarding Sunnyside

*Sept. 22 2019 – Correction – A section of the letter has been removed, as requested by those who wrote the letter, in an effort to stick to the issue of Sunnyside. They would also like to clarify that the current RCA president was  misattributed with a quote when they were not, in fact, who spoke to the private land owner regarding illegal trail building in the earlier addition of this letter.  – Editor

A group Letter to the Editor, representing twenty households living near the Revelstoke Cycling Association’s (RCA) Sunnyside development, respond to the RCA’s earlier letter (August 29 2019 regarding Sunnyside. The Revelstoke Current covered the Sunnyside development earlier in the season.

Letter to the Editor – Revelstoke Cycling Association comments on Sunnyside

We read with interest and some concern the RCA letter to the editor concerning the Mt. Cartier (Sunnyside) mountain bike trails under development.

First off, The Mt. Cartier trail is an historic trail that has been in existence for almost 100 years. To have it co-opted for mtn. biking is a travesty to local history. It was previously a trail that could be easily accessed by locals and visitors alike, offering outstanding views of this part of the Columbia Valley. It is no longer suitable for equestrians, and many hikers do not feel safe due to the hordes of mountain bikers that now use the trail. It is simply no longer safe to hike there!

In addition, there are now commercial interests offering “Heli Drops” near the summit of Mt. Cartier so now even the upper reaches of the trail are considered dangerous to the average hiker. The province estimated over 800 Heli Bikers in 2018. How many were airlifted to the upper slopes this year has yet to be determined. What kind of damage is being done to the alpine portions of the trail by helicopter access?

The completed portion of the lower “planned trail system” has officially been closed all summer, yet neither the RCA nor RSTBC has posted any signage, and every day, the parking lot is full of cars and trucks using the “closed” trail system. RSTBC has installed a culvert at the base of the old Cartier trail, but has yet to install the outhouse it has planned, so,..where are all the mountain bikers (and of course, their dogs,…. mountain bikers cannot bike without their dogs..) going to relieve themselves? In the water system of the families that rely on surface water and springs from Mt. Cartier!

In the area immediately surrounding the Mt. Cartier trailhead and parking lot, within 1 kilometer, there are 10 family residences, with 30 people. All of the homesites rely on water from Mt. Cartier. Several homes rely on surface water from the slopes of Mt. Cartier, and those on wells rely on waters from Mt. Cartier to replenish their aquifers. To have a development of this size imposed on them without any public consultation is, quite frankly, outrageous.

Ah yes,… Public Consultation,…The only reason the residents of the area knew that there was a development planned was as a result of posters at the local bike shops advertising a “Town Hall Meeting.” It was, of course, also advertised in the RCA internal newsletter. No serious public consultation was planned as the RCA, with the help of the local RSTBC office, attempted to ram this development through.

An email obtained through the freedom of information act dated June 14th, 2018, from Ms. Danielle Dornik, District Recreation Officer, Revelstoke, to Erica Hartling of the CSRD states, …“currently I have no intentions of pursuing a public consultation process.”

For reference… a letter from the North Columbia Environmental Society dated Aug. 30th, 2018.

In this letter, addressed to both the City of Revelstoke, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, dated August 30, 2018, the opening paragraph clearly states their primary concerns:

  • Damage done by increased numbers of riders on the trails and;
  • Lack of consultation with stakeholders on the ground about trail expansion.
  • The letter finishes stating the need for a comprehensive Backcountry Recreation Access Plan in the area surrounding Revelstoke.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District passed a resolution in 2018 urging your office and FLNRORD to “take a leadership role and immediately provide sufficient funding and resources to enable effective, community based, collaborative land use planning for Crown land which includes First Nations, local governments, Provincial government agencies, industry sectors, interest groups, and local residents.

So far, this has not happened!

GREAT ! A development with a projected budget of $750,000.00 that would cover 700 hectares and threatens the water supply of over 30 residents is being “rammed through” without public and/or resident consultation. Anybody here see why the residents are upset?

Of course, this is supposed to be for the good of the City of Revelstoke and its tourism aspirations of becoming another Whistler or Banff, however, the adverse effects associated with this proposed trail system will unfairly impact the residents of the neighbourhood at the base of the trail.

The increase in road traffic has also become a problem. Bikers love to ride 2 and 3 abreast between the city and Mt. Cartier, just so they can talk to their buds.

Rights and duties of operator of cycle

  • 183 (1)In addition to the duties imposed by this section, a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.
  • (2)A person operating a cycle
  • (d)must not ride abreast of another person operating a cycle on the roadway,

And, it seems cyclists consider it an imposition to have to move to the shoulder when a car or truck approaches or passes them.

Airport Way has limited visibility on 3 major corners between the airport and the Cartier trailhead system. Is it fair to ask drivers to cross a solid yellow line to pass cyclists on blind corners ? It seems many cyclists are not aware of the potential dangers a head-on collision with another motor vehicle would cause, not only to the vehicle occupants, but to the cyclists caught on the periphery, or perhaps even in the middle !

The whole concept of an expanded mountain Bike development at this location is really quite complex. Not as simple as the simple folks at the RCA and RSTBC would have you believe.

The mountain Bike community now has:

  • Martha Creek trail… taken over by mountain bikes
  • Mt. MacPherson trails taken over by mountain bikes
  • Keystone, Standard Basin taken over by mountain bikes, with RSTBC planning to make the trail even more friendly to encourage higher use.
  • Frisby Ridge Trail taken over by mountain bikes
  • Mt. Revelstoke Lower trails now taken over by mountain bikes

And now the Cartier trail. Trails for hiking are almost becoming non-existent in the valley in 2019.

Those of us who live outside the City do so for a reason. We are not interested in becoming part of another Whistler or another Banff. We’ve seen what that can do to the quality of life. No thanks.

Respectfully, the residents of The Mount Cartier area:

Buck & Laurel Corrigan

Bernice Corneliuson

Daren & Tammy Corneliuson

Harry Edhardt & Audrey Defant

Pat Everett

Brian, Ron & Marris Gawiuk

Jim & Adele Graham

Jamie Hampton

Janis Hooge

Ada Jarvis

Dave & Pam Mahr

Phil & Lynn Des Mazes

Linda Olinger

Andy and Marilyn Parkin

Carola & Chris Pendrak

Chic Sharpe

Robert Smith

Don Smith

Brian Steffes

Hazel Storey


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