An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE JACK GREGSON TRAIL will soon be only a memory, with the announcement by CP Rail that it needs the space for track expansion.
The trail has always been an unrequited dream. The late Jack Gregson, whose home was at the end of Lorne Street, began tending and expanding the unofficial trail many years ago, and it just sort of happened.
But it never gained official status. CP Rail never supported it, and the City certainly didn’t, either. The west end of the trail is still quite pretty, and got a lot of use last winter when the well-known ice disc was taking turns in the river.
But, over the years, especially since Gregson’s death, the rest of the trail has fallen into disrepair and disuse, except by the homeless. It has become overgrown and littered with junk. People don’t like to use it any more.
Maybe that’s why CP Rail’s announcement hasn’t been greeted with much in the way of dismay or objection.
But that trail is more important than simply being a dead-end link between Lorne Street and Valleyview. It’s the only logical route to an eventual trail stretching along the South Thompson River all the way to Barnhart Vale and beyond.
A southern route extension of the Rivers Trail has long been an ambition among outdoorsy people and some civic leaders, a dream that was supposed to have been realized by 2025, just five years from now.
But nothing much has been done on the Rivers Trail for 20 years.
In all those years, CP Rail and the City haven’t managed to get together and find a way for the Gregson Trail to fulfill its destiny of becoming a key piece in the network.
Sadly, now that CP Rail is going to eradicate Jack Gregson’s efforts, the Rivers Trail will likely never achieve its original vision.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.