Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Trail Net Fiasco

You've probably heard by now that the proposed trail between Beiseker and Irricana was turned down by the County.  Many were shocked and amazed by this decision.  I wasn't.  The rejection goes to actions taken back in history and Trail Net is going to have to do some major damage control before projects like this will proceed.

About a hundred years ago the farmers in this area wanted a rail line to ship their grain to market.  To that end many of them almost gave a piece of their land to the CPR to build their track on.  The deal was that they would provide land for the CPR right-of-way and the railway would provide train service to Calgary basically forever.  Forever wasn't as long as those farm families thought it would be!

The CPR abandoned the rail line and gave the land to the trail people to build a trail across the prairie.  This was done as many municipalities and individuals were in the middle of negotiations to take the land back from the railway and return it to its original use!

Farm families who expected to be able to get back this strip of land which their ancestors had almost donated to the railway instead found a public pathway running through their fields!  This has led to some very hard feelings between the trail folks and their farmer neighbours.  One group of farm families actually buried a car in protest after the car manufacturing company donated cash to help establish the trails.

In some parts of this great country, abandoned railways have indeed been turned into excellent trails and pathways and some day that may happen here.  But before that happens here, the trail folks have to become aware of the past history and make a plan to overcome these hard feelings. Downloading the problem to the locals isn't the answer.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm good points but the land was traded fair and square for the railway corridor, you can't take something back that has been traded. Time to move forward and time to stop living in the past.