City purchasing property for trail

Little Mountain: Addition of 2.3 acres to address trespass issues.

Trespassing concerns along part of the Little Mountain trail system should be eliminated if the city succeeds in acquiring a portion of adjacent private property.

Salmon Arm council has given first and second reading to amend the official community plan and zoning related to a 2.3 acre section of property in the north-east corner of the 37-hectare community park. Approximately 335 metres of the park’s Outer Loop trail runs through this portion, currently owned by G. and M. Hartling.

A memo by city planning and development officer John Turlock states that in order to protect the trail for future public use, the Hartlings offered to sell the part of their property with the trail to the city. In January, council authorized staff to negotiate the purchase, and an agreement was signed in February with a completion day of Dec. 20, 2013.

“The city is covering the associated costs and will name the trail the Hartling Loop if the purchase of successfully completed,” the memo states, with funds for the purchase coming from the city’s park reserve account.

As the Hartling property is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, approval from the Agricultural Land Commission is required for completion of the transaction. The city’s own Agricultural Advisory Committee – being one person short – was split in supporting the land purchase. Committee chair, Coun. Ken Jamieson, said this was not due to agricultural land coming out of the reserve, but because some were concerned the city would be spending money on the acquisition of park land, as opposed to spending it on “projects in the community that could provide employment” and expand city infrastructure. Coun. Alan Harrison suggested the committee should be focused on agricultural concerns, and Jamieson agreed.

“That’s something that… I’ve tried as chair, but also staff who support the committee, that’s what we keep trying to infuse into the committee, that it should be based on agricultural discussions and the use of agricultural land. Most of the time it works that way, but obviously in this case it didn’t.”

Harrison noted that even with the purchase, a small part of the trail would still encroach on private property. But development services director Kevin Pearson said this section would be fixed to bring the trail inside park property.