By Laura Keil
When a section of 5-Mile road slumped down the hillside in April, it cut off access to much of the Valemount Bike Park’s upper trails, but thanks to several partners, the road repair will be underway soon.
The upper part of 5-mile is a forest service road that falls in the community forest tenure area. The Valemount Community Forest was the first partner to step up to help, said Curtis Pawliuk, GM of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), the organization that manages the bike park trails.
“To repair the road correctly is a big job and the community forest has been extremely supportive throughout the assessment and planning process,” Pawliuk said.
He said the next partnership came from Northern Development Initiative Trust. That organization reached out to VARDA first asking how they could help.
“They have invested a lot in our trail system and said that they wanted to help,” Pawliuk said. “They encouraged me to apply to the Community Development Program for support. The only hitch was that we had less than a week to get the build plan and budget done.”
But with help from the community forest and the Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association (YORA), VARDA was able to get in an application.
“We are now waiting on the final decision which should come in a week or so,” Pawliuk said on June 7th.
If approved, Pawliuk said NDIT would cover up to 70% of the project cost and the Valemount Community Forest has agreed to help with the remaining 30%.
“It’s so uplifting to see the community come together to help,” Pawliuk said.
Pawliuk said until this week they have been waiting on road bans to be removed so equipment could be mobilized, and they are now waiting for the rain to cease and conditions to dry out.
For businesses that rely on bike park traffic, the repair can’t come soon enough.
“It’s no surprise that this road closure is affecting the use of the popular trail system and local business as well,” Pawliuk said. “We are really hoping that we can have all the repairs completed and the road open for the next phase of BC’s Restart Plan which could be as early as June 15th.”
VCF manager Craig Pryor said they have Jackman Construction lined up to complete the work. The slide is still active and people should avoid the area.