Trail lands large grant

Ministry earmarks $800,000 for pedestrian part of bridge

Fresh from working through red tape to get the walking bridge built, the City of Trail is about to receive some serious green from the province – $800,000, in fact.

“That is fantastic news,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin said when contacted by the Trail Times Monday morning. (Martin and Trail council members are in Vancouver this week attending the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.)  “Fantastic news and what great timing.”

All along the city has maintained building a footbridge across the Columbia River is a green project – because no cars means no additional carbon emissions from vehicles.

The province agreed, and through BikeBC, the city is receiving the largest piece of the program’s $6 million funding to expand and build cycling lanes, trail and paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

The $800,000 grant is described as the Trail pipe/pedestrian bridge, a 3.8 metre wide, 280-metre long multi-use bridge along the Trans Canada Trail (TCT).

The money was granted for the pedestrian platform only, not for the new sewer line.

The province has phenomenal cycling corridors and B.C. has to do a better job creating cycling tours, Todd Stone told the Trail Times in March.

During the interview, the Transport Minister assured that the city would not be left behind in the province’s 10-year B.C. on the Move transportation plan.

He noted a 50 per cent increase to BikeBC, saying priorities included partnering with communities to build new bike lanes and trails as well as better safety for cyclist pedalling provincial highways.

“Recognizing that an increasing number of British Columbians want to use their bicycles as one of their means of transportation, they need to be able to do so safely,” he added.

BikeBC is the province’s cost-sharing program that helps communities build cycling projects that promote active, healthy communities and attracts commuter and tourism cyclists.

Earmarking the bridge as a section of the coast-to-coast trail also plays into the large grant.

Over the years, rugged terrain, private property impasses and high costs have been obstacles for Trail becoming a TCT stop over.

City council, Kootenay Columbia Trails Society and others involved in project development expressed concern last year that Trail could be bypassed on the route.

The trail was originally mapped to come through the city, but securing right-of-ways liabilities and finalizing the route through town put the city’s mart on the TCT into question.

After exchanging correspondence with the trail’s development manager for western and northern Canada, David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer, told Trail council keeping the city in the loop was a priority for trail planners.

A development in the plan was the possibility of including the pedestrian pipe/bridge on the route, he added.

“We would ensure this become an integral part of the trail.”

When fully connected by Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the Trans Canada Trail will stretch 23,000 kilometres to connect every province and territory on a recreational pathway for walking, running, hiking and biking.