Work has started near 30th Avenue North to connect Cranbrook’s Rotary Way bike and pedestrian path to the North Star Rails to Trails.

Work has started near 30th Avenue North to connect Cranbrook’s Rotary Way bike and pedestrian path to the North Star Rails to Trails.

Rotary Way extended from 30th Ave. North

Work has started to connect the Cranbrook bike and pedestrian path to Rails to Trails

A new piece of Cranbrook’s popular cycle and walk trail Rotary Way has been paved.

The 400-metre section begins at the traffic light on Highway 3 opposite the Chamber of Commerce, then runs beside Joseph Creek to the intersection of Kokanee Drive, Panorama Road and 30th Avenue North.

The newly paved trail is part of what’s known as the Rotary Way Link. When it is completed next year, the Link will extend Rotary Way from 30th Avenue North to the start of North Star Rails to Trails behind Home Depot.

Cyclists and walkers will be able to get onto Rotary Way at any point of its route in Cranbrook and follow it through town, over the Link, onto the Rotary Way Connector from Theatre Road to Wildstone Golf Course, and end up on North Star Rails to Trails, the 25-kilometre paved trail to Kimberley.

“There’s the Rotary Connector that got us to the railway crossing (at Theatre Road), and now we are working on a Rotary Link to get the Connector to the cycle/walk trail,” explained Chris New, the City of Cranbrook’s director of leisure services.

The Rotary Club of Cranbrook was instrumental in paving the two-kilometre Connector, which was officially opened last year. Now the club is working with the City of Cranbrook to see the Link completed.

“Starting next construction season in 2014, we will do what we now call the Rotary Way Link. This will be the link that goes from the Connector to the existing Rotary Way,” said the Rotary Club’s Ron Popoff.

Paving work on the 400-metre section from 30th Avenue North to the highway began earlier in October and is expected to be complete later this week. Cyclists and walkers will be able to utilize the new section right away, though it won’t be officially opened until the rest of the Link is complete.

“We probably won’t paint it right away; we’ll probably do everything at one time,” explained Chris New.

“The paved portion is just one part of it to get the two trails together.”

From the traffic light on Highway 3 outside the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Way Link will travel along McPhee Road past the transfer station and Home Depot, then connect with the Rotary Way Connector and North Star Rails to Trails behind the railway crossing at Theatre Road.

The work was made possible thanks to a $280,000 grant from the B.C. government’s Community Recreation Program. The Rotary Club pitched in the remainder needed to see the Rotary Way Link completed.

About a third of the grant went to replacing old wooden bridges over Joseph Creek on the Rotary Way in Kinsmen and Idlewild Parks.

It’s all about creating a community that is more friendly to walking and cycling, said Popoff.

“The ultimate goal from Rotary’s perspective is: we need to become more active for utilitarian and recreational purposes. We need to find other ways rather than sitting in our car all the time and relying on vehicles to get us around. We need to realize that getting out and about – walking and cycling on Rotary Way – gives a great sense of social belonging in our community, and it’s a vital piece for staying active and being participatory in our community for all ages.”