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Letter: Motorized Designation of the Hidden Valley/MacPherson (Whitehorse North) Trail

Dear Mayor Laura Cabott,

Dear Mayor Laura Cabott,

Many thanks for your June 4 confirmation of what I feared to be true regarding a planned “process satisfaction survey” for our Hidden Valley/MacPherson (Whitehorse North) Trail.

The fact is that regardless of related results, a larger survey will be necessary since residents I’ve spoken with were unaware of the full meaning of a “motorized trail” — especially the legal aspects and related costs. At minimum, no one was aware that legally, to accommodate motorized use, our single-track trail will need to be widened to a double track trail throughout. As per the definition of “single-track trail” in the Whitehorse bylaw, all motorized vehicles are prohibited on such trails. Therefore, unless widened, motorized vehicles of any kind are illegal on our Hidden Valley/MacPherson Trail — clearly a conflict with the present motorized designation.

Since this widening requirement was not included in the original survey, another full survey is now necessary to ensure informed decision-making for Hidden Valley/MacPherson residents. A new survey must also include comprehensive education of all bylaws related to a “motorized trail designation.” Residents I spoke with on all sides of the issue were unaware of related legalities. Particularly, no one was in favor of widening our Whitehorse North single-track trail.

In addition, the Hidden Valley part of the trail at or near Couch Road is actually on private property. Therefore, trail widening would specifically require permission from affected property owners.

Also, no related cost has been made public, nor have I been able to obtain any. I have to wonder if anyone even knows.

Another concern is timing of a survey which I understand is planned for shortly. As seen with the original one — surveys undertaken during the summer when people are on holidays and enjoying our short season — a poor participation can again be expected. Obviously, the city is bent on repeating past mistakes.

Clearly, to ensure informed decision-making for residents, a new full survey regarding the motorized designation, regardless of the past process, is necessary. Therefore, to save valuable, scarce funds, I again ask that a useless planned “process satisfaction survey” be abandoned and a new fully informed survey be done in fall, not summer.


Liz Reichenbach

Hidden Valley resident