Committee has tentative snowmobile route from overpass to Village
President of the Crowdis Mountain Snowmobile Club Sheldon Garland called an emergency stakeholder meeting at the Inverary Resort Oct. 29 prompted by a phone call two days earlier.
District Director for Eastern District for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR) Gerard Macdonald alerted Garland on Oct. 27 that the tender for the new multi-use overpass was going out and DTIR needed to know how the bridge would connect with the Village of Baddeck. Land was already being purchased to put overpass ramps in.
“They’re looking for access, because right now they’re building a bridge to nowhere. There is no existing trail leaving the new overpass,” Garland told the gathering of 30 stakeholders.
An hour-long discussion ensued involving snowmobilers, Atv-ers, County Warden and District # 3 Councillor Bruce Morrison, District #2 Councillor Perla Macleod and local business owners. The meeting ended with David Mackenzie appointed leader of a five-person trail committee tasked with connecting the dots and securing necessary land use agreements with private land owners.
As of press time, Mackenzie says they have roughed out a route proposal and are still checking with land owners about access. The proposed route prioritizes nighttime motorist safety.
“The main goal is to stay just in behind the tree line. We’re hoping to leave a small layer of
trees between the trail and the Trans-canada as we go eastbound from the overpass [located just west of mileage marker #85] on toward Baddeck. We’re hoping to go on the outside of the sound barrier above Alderwood. And then we’re going to come across on the Silver Dart property and make our way down to DTIR property via the top of Fownes Drive, travelling down to the property behind the Baddeck Curling Rink. The tentative idea is to provide lay down area there for snowmobilers to unload or park.”
The committee’s responsibility is to get snowmobilers to a central hub. From there the Village of Baddeck and local business owners decide how best to promote village food, accommodations and amenities.
Mackenzie says meetings are planned with the Village of Baddeck and engineer at the Baddeck landfill the week ending Nov. 10. The club had a meeting on Nov. 5 to discuss details with members. The trail committee still needs to formally request permission, in writing, to access DTIR land.
“They [DTIR] don’t want the bridge to go nowhere, so they really want these land use agreements to be in place.”
Mackenzie says everyone seems to be supportive of the overpass.
“DTIR has been very helpful. Bruce Morrison and Perla Macleod have been very helpful. I’m hoping we’ll ski-doo across the overpass this winter. I don’t want to guarantee anything, but I would really like to see that. A lot of people put a lot of work into it already.”
Flo Hare, of Sydney (left), and Debbie Poirier of Aspy Bay (right), are seen at the Annual Women's Ecumenical Conference held in Baddeck, Nov. 3-5. An excerpt from Poirier's keynote address is this week's guest editorial.