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New Westminster looks at making way for greenway in Braid

The city, working with federal and provincial authorities, Metro Vancouver and Urban Wood Waste, which owns property along the Spruce Street segment of the route, have worked together to clear the path, which will not only help walkers and cyclists, but will include fish habitat restoration. -
The city, working with federal and provincial authorities, Metro Vancouver and Urban Wood Waste, which owns property along the Spruce Street segment of the route, have worked together to clear the path, which will not only help walkers and cyclists, but will include fish habitat restoration.
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One of the most difficult roadblocks for creating a section of the Central Valley Greenway through the Braid industrial area is being cleared.

When it’s done, it should pave the way for the bicycle/pedestrian path to be moved from a temporary route through Sapperton.

The city, working with federal and provincial authorities, Metro Vancouver and Urban Wood Waste, which owns property along the Spruce Street segment of the route, have worked together to clear the path.

That would include identifying fish habitat restoration, finding funds and providing rights of way.

“Even though this is just one piece of several that needs to be completed, it’s been the most difficult to achieve so far,” said New Westminster planning analyst Eric Westberg, who prepared a report heard by city council Monday. “[There were a lot of legal complexities but] we’ve made a lot of progress on it this year.”

The greenway was opened in 2010 providing a route that went from New Westminster’s Quayside to Science World in Vancouver.

The long-term plan is for the route to go along the Fraser River before heading into Burnaby along the Brunette River. Currently an interim route using Columbia, East Columbia and Fader streets is used.

Connecting Westminster Pier Park to Sapperton Landing remains a huge hurdle to cross.

But if the Braid industrial area segment is finalized, cyclists and walkers could cross at the foot of Cumberland and the east end of Sapperton Landing.

It is also where the Brunette enters the Fraser and is often referred to as Cold Point. Metro Vancouver plans to begin construction of a .5 hectare park there starting in 2013.

The park would provide an entry point for the greenway into the Spruce Street segment.

From there, the route would follow existing roads through the industrial area to Braid, which already has a connection to the greenway.

The ideal vision, said Westberg, is to negotiate a right of way through the industrial lands that would follow the Brunette instead of city streets.

“But that’s a long-term goal. In the meantime the desire is to get it built and run it along those streets,” said Westberg.

He also pointed out the latest developments will involve a lot of work on improving the Brunette’s flow. A drainage channel was built in the 1980s in the middle of the industrial area and more water is going down it than the Brunette.

“[Metro Vancouver] will be making improvements to restore flow all the way down the creek. That will improve fish habitat and make it more appealing,” said Westberg. “It’s a lot more than bikeway greenway going on here.”

He did, however, note having the greenway go through to Braid will mean cyclists heading toward Burnaby and Vancouver on the route will benefit from avoiding climbing East Columbia.

Westberg said once BC Lands grants a right of way and Metro Vancouver comes to the city with detailed designs for its park, the city will take it to the community for feedback. He’s hoping that will be by the end of 2012.

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