Pavement possible on first 1.7 km of Trans Canada Trail this summer
If all the funding aligns, the Grand Forks Community Trail Society (GFCTS) could have the first 1.7 kilometers of the 17 km Trans Canada Trail between Grand Forks and Christina Lake paved by this summer.
Last week the society was awarded $56,000 from the TransCanada Trail Foundation to start the first phase of paving between 68th Street in Grand Forks to the Nursery. The entire project, which will cost an estimated $1.6 million, has been broken down into three phases to make it more affordable. The first phase will cost an estimated $101,640.
Loosing no time due to the March 15 grant-imposed deadline to have the engineering design created by, Ken Oliver from Urban Systems spent this week designing the trail. He’s being followed by an environmental assessment. The assessment recommendations will be used in designing the paved areas.
“Things are underway and we’re pretty excited,” said Mary Ann Westaway, GFCTS treasurer who also attending the city council meeting earlier this week to ask for funding consideration.
“This used to be a dream and now that dream is taking off.”
Westaway said when the society paved the trails within Grand Forks they saw a huge increase in the number of users. She hopes to see the same between Christina Lake and Grand Forks.
She said the paving will make it easier for cyclists, baby strollers, roller blades and will make the paths more visible from the highway, which may attract more tourists to use it.
But the $56,000 will only go so far. The society is asking the city to help out with an additional $50,000.
While the city could not commit to the money, they did commit to considering the request.
“It is on the table,” said Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor during the regular city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 4. “And congratulations – your efforts have been tireless.”
The paving project broken down into three phases – first phase to the city limits, second phase to the end of Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park and the final phase to the east end of Cascade Gorge – will make the – project easier to find funding for.
To alleviate some of the earlier controversy from ATV users that paving the trail would limit their use, the trails society has been working closely with the Grand Forks All Terrain Vehicle Club (GFATV), said Westaway. The ATV Club has representatives who sit in on the trail society meetings and a user agreement is being established between the two groups on which users will be using which trails in the community. Also, there are many horse riders who like to use the trail system between Cascade Gorge and Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park, so future plans hope to accommodate them by providing a soft shoulder alongside the paving, said Westaway.
To find out more about the project visit www.gftrails.ca.