The Friendship Trail is an approximately 7 km multi-use trail which, when complete, will connect the communities of Mount Currie and the Village of Pemberton. On March 21, 2017 the Province announced that it would contribute $500,000 from BikeBC to the Village of Pemberton for the Friendship Trail Bridge. This follows a March 7, 2017 announcement from the BC Rural Dividend Fund that it would grant $100,000 to the SLRD for the Friendship Trail. These two funding injections secure the final contributions needed to make the Friendship Trail project a reality.
The project was originally conceived by the Winds of Change, a collaborative public policy initiative of the Lil’wat Nation, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Village of Pemberton. The Winds of Change identified the need for a safe non-motorized, pedestrian-friendly travel route aimed at encouraging commuting by bike and on foot as a priority recommendation in its “Healing Vision” report.
The trail will allow people to travel by bicycle, horseback or on foot, on a route that will be much safer and more pleasant that the current route used along the highway. The Friendship Trail will also provide a critical link in the larger Sea to Sky Trail project, a trail network undertaken by the SLRD, which, when complete, will be a 180 km multi-use recreation trail linking the Pacific Ocean south of Squamish with the community of D’Arcy on the southern shore of Anderson Lake.
Preparatory work for the trail was conducted after the SLRD Board identified this section of the Sea to Sky Trail as a priority link. Portions of the trail already exist in various stages – SLRD staff is now in the process of determining the final route alignment. Clearing the route and surfacing the trail is expected to begin in the fall of 2017.
An essential element of the project will be the installation of a bike and equestrian-friendly bridge across the Lillooet River. As a result of community consultation undertaken by the Village of Pemberton in 2013, it was determined that the highway crossing and North Arm crossing were the most desired locations for the bridge. Costings for both options indicated that the highway crossing was more feasible, being safer, a more direct alignment, and the most cost-efficient; the North Arm option would be approximately $1.2 million more expensive than the Highway Crossing option.
The bridge design and construction drawings have been completed. However, construction, which was expected to begin in August 2017, has been delayed. The Village of Pemberton issued a Request for Proposals for the construction and installation of the bridge in March 2018 with the deadline to submit proposals being April 17, 2018. Following the project award, the construction schedule will be confirmed. The bridge will comply with regulations set out by the BC Ministry of Environment to reduce the risk to sensitive fish habitat. When complete, the Friendship Trail Bridge will span a length of 117 metres over the Lillooet River, on the south side of the existing highway bridge.
The Friendship Trail is a joint initiative of the SLRD, Village of Pemberton and Líl'wat Nation. The Líl'wat Nation has conducted field assessments of the route to ensure it does impact archaelogical or cultural sites. The SLRD is responsible for securing funding for the trail and managing its construction, and will be responsible for maintaining the trail once it's complete. A critical piece of the Friendship Trail will be the construction of a multi-use bridge over the Lillooet River. The Village of Pemberton is responsible for securing funding, planning and managing the construction of the bridge, and will be responsible for maintaining the bridge, once complete.
The partners have been working to secure funding for the project since 2012, with the following commitments being secured:
|Friendship Trail Bridge ($1,419,000)|
|$369,000||Government of Canada - Gas Tax Fund: Regionally Significant Projects (2012)|
|$500,000||Province of British Columbia - BikeBC (2017)|
|$500,000||Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (2014)|
|$50,000||Other community contributions|
|Friendship Trail ($321,343)|
|$30,000||Government of Canada - Gas Tax Fund: Regionally Significant Projects (2008)|
|$120,000||Whistler Blackcomb Foundation (2012)|
|$100,000||Province of British Columbia - Rural Dividend Fund (2017)|
|$71,343||Province of British Columbia - BikeBC (2015)|
November 6, 2018 – The first phase of the Friendship Trail between the Pemberton Valley Lodge and the Lillooet River (site where the bridge is being constructed) is complete.
The next stretch of trail from the Lillooet River to Pemberton Farm Road East is planned for construction beginning in mid-November, however weather conditions may factor into that schedule.
The remainder of the trail will use the existing road along the railway tracks; some improvements to this section are planned for spring 2019, including some fencing. An established walking path from the Pemberton Industrial Park to Mount Currie is already in use; the SLRD is looking to re-surface this section with gravel in the spring, once the necessary approvals have been secured from the Village of Pemberton and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Ultimately, the goal is to have that footpath, which currently leads to the Mount Currie boundary, continue through Mount Currie, however those plans have not been finalized. The SLRD is also working to establish the route between Harrow Road and the traffic lights to complete the trail connection; construction on this section is also planned for 2019.
October 2, 2018 - The first phase of the Friendship Trail between the Pemberton Valley Lodge and the Lillooet River (site where the bridge is being constructed) is now complete. The next stretch of trail from the Lillooet River to Pemberton Farm Road East is planned for construction this fall. The remainder of the trail will use the existing road along the railway tracks; some improvements to this section are planned for spring 2019, including some fencing. An established walking path from the Pemberton Industrial Park to Mount Currie is already in use; the SLRD is looking to re-surface this section with gravel in the spring, once the necessary approvals have been secured from the Village of Pemberton and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The SLRD is also working to establish the route between Harrow Road and the traffic lights to complete the trail connection; construction on this section is also planned for 2019.
September 4,2018 -The Highway 99 section of the Friendship Trail is well under way with gravel currently being placed and surface compacting to take place in the coming weeks. The Highway 99 section is expected to be complete in conjunction with completion of the Friendship Trail Bridge. The Village of Pemberton released the two-phase bridge construction schedule in August.
June 20, 2018 - SLRD issues a Request for Proposals for the construction of the Friendship Trail (deadline to submit proposals is 4 pm on July 3, 2018)
March 16, 2018 - The Village of Pemberton issued a Request for Proposals for the construction of the Friendship Trail Bridge (the deadline to submit proposals is 2 pm on April 17, 2018)
September 20, 2017 - Friendship Bridge construction delayed; RFP to be released October, 2017
April 13, 2017 - Friendship Trail and Bridge fully funded, bridge contract awarded, construction to commence this summer
April 3, 2017 - The Village of Pemberton is holding an Information Session regarding the Friendship Trail Bridge project on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at Council Chambers, 7400 Prospect Street, Pemberton, BC
March 21, 2017 - New cycling infrastructure in Pemberton underway soon
March 7, 2017 - New economic development strategy to build on B.C.'s rural advantages
February 18, 2015 - SLRD receives $71,343 BikeBC grant for Friendship Trail
February 6, 2015 - BikeBC funding boosts cycling infrastructure in the Sea to Sky Corridor
November 28, 2014 - Innergex donates $500,000 to the Friendship Trail Bridge project
October 11, 2012 - SLRD allocates $369,000 in Regionally Significant Project (Gas Tax) funds to the construction of the Friendship Trail Bridge