Pathway 24 project scrapped by Lethbridge city council following public backlash

Click to play video: 'City council unanimously votes to scrap controversial Lethbridge pathway project' City council unanimously votes to scrap controversial Lethbridge pathway project
WATCH ABOVE: After weeks of public backlash, Lethbridge city council voted to cancel the Pathway 24 project on Monday. Danica Ferris has more on what the rescindment will save the city, as well as what was already spent on the project. – Jun 15, 2020

A controversial Lethbridge pathway project has been cancelled by city council, despite previous approval for a $1.75-million update in the city’s river valley.

A motion to cancel the Pathway 24 project was raised on June 1, by Coun. Blaine Hyggen, following significant public backlash surrounding what was going to be a stretch of shale pathway in a popular coulee mountain biking area.

READ MORE: Lethbridge cyclists, hikers raise alarm over development of coulee trails

The motion was postponed two weeks ago, but when it came back before council on Monday, it was unanimously approved.

“[I am] pretty excited, obviously,” said Hyggen. “The community engagement that we had throughout these past few weeks has been amazing, and council [has] listened to the community, and I think that’s extremely important.”
Story continues below advertisement

The cancellation will save the city $1.75 million, but the cash already invested in the project will be a loss.

“I wish we could have stopped this sooner, when it came forward here a few months back,” Hyggen said.

At the meeting two weeks ago, Hyggen said that he hadn’t heard a single public comment in favour of the project.

READ MORE: Lethbridge councillors debate whether to cancel controversial Pathway 24 project

“I guess it comes down to, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Hyggen said. “Leaving it status quo is what they have always enjoyed, and it’s been a great pathway for the use of many, and going forward, I think that’s the way it should continue.”

The Pathway 24 project was an attempt to make the Six Mile Coulee area more accessible, but those that frequent the area say that isn’t the issue.

“It is still very accessible down there if people have a desire to get down there, people just need to know about it,” said Bryce Nugent, who organized a petition in opposition to the project last week.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t think it needed to have a shale pathway built to expose it to users, people just need to know about it — it needs proper signage.”

Nugent’s petition garnered more than 2,100 signatures in three days; a group of names that he says was representative of all the different groups that spend time in Six Mile Coulee.

“All user groups that are down there have come together and kind of created a new group that represents mountain bikers, hikers, naturalists, trail runners, and now, [they] kind of have one single voice,” said Nugent.

READ MORE: Lethbridge councillors set intentions in first meeting as new COVID-19 recovery committee

Hyggen’s motion required a 6-3 vote to pass, but it went through unanimously on Monday. Nugent said the decision is a huge win for the area.

“They definitely took it into consideration and I think they made the right choice,” he said. “I think we’ll look back and be grateful everyone made this choice.”

With the approval of the resolution, city manager Craig Dalton has now been directed to consult with local groups that utilize the coulees to discuss a strategy to improve the river valley area moving forward.

Dalton, along with community members, will present findings and suggestions to council no later than Oct. 31, 2020.


Sponsored content