News

Equestrians to get dike access

The section between Sharpe and Neaves roads will allow riders to access the Trans Canada Trail safely.  - Colleen Flanagan/The News
The section between Sharpe and Neaves roads will allow riders to access the Trans Canada Trail safely.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

The City of Pitt Meadows will open up a section of a dike along the North Alouette River that was previously closed to equestrians, finally allowing riders to safely access a popular riding route.

Vicky Biamonte asked the parks commission to allow horses on the stretch between Sharpe and Neaves roads as it is the safest way to reach the equestrian section of the Trans Canada and Deerfield trails.

Traveling west along Old Dewdney Truck Road to Harris Road east to 128th Avenue are not options, Biamonte said in a letter to the parks commission.

“The traffic along both these routes is far too dangerous for both horse and rider.”

Although horses are not permitted on the dike, Biamonte’s daughter and other riders had been using the trail occasionally. But they recently noticed threatening posters tacked to garbage cans and municipal signs encouraging people to report riders.

“There seems to be someone out there who strongly dislikes horses,” said Biamonte, who operates Strideaway Stable.

She was particular concerned about words written next to a “Discharge of firearms” sign, noting they could be characterized as “a personal threat to anyone riding a horse in that area.”

Biamonte’s request was supported by the parks commission and endorsed by Pitt Meadows council at a committee meeting last week.

“This request does not seem unreasonable given the great trail riding opportunities that are very close by; however accessing them safely is paramount,” manager of parks and open spaces Geoff Mallory said in a report to council.

“Staff believes that, given the rural location of the trails network in question, that citizens would consider this to be a complimentary addition.”

Mallory noted that since there are other stables in the area, there may be more requests to allow horses on other sections of the dike.

He suggested the city consider other requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they don’t interfere with other dike users.

Dianne Stoesz, with the Haney Horsemen Association, welcomed the increased access.

“Quite a few riders from that area had asked about dike access,” said Stoesz, adding that riders would also like the equestrian section of the Trans Canada Trail extended to 128th Avenue.

“I am so glad Ms. Biamonte requested access.”

The Haney Horsemen are now meeting quarterly with the District of Maple Ridge to discuss equestrian concerns. Any reports about fallen trees or hazards such as pot holes and trail deterioration can be emailed to gmallory@mapleridge.ca.

Pitt Meadows council was set to formally endorse the extension at next meeting March 4. For trail maps, visit the Haney Horsemens blog.

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