Con­struc­tion on the multi-use bridge is un­der­way, so what's next?

Trail de­sign comes next; As­so­ci­a­tion to hold pub­lic meet­ing in Jan­uary

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - AN­DREW BROOKS

Ex­ca­va­tors and other heavy ma­chin­ery be­gan to ap­pear at the edge of High­way 105 out­side of Bad­deck this past week as con­struc­tion on the provin­cially-funded multi-use trail bridge got un­der­way.

The Vic­to­ria County Trail As­so­ci­a­tion (VCTA) formed last year to co­or­di­nate le­gal ease­ments and trails to and from the bridge. As­so­ci­a­tion Chair Paul Har­vey is ex­cited about the next phase of the project.

“We have a gen­eral idea where the trail that will hook up to the Trans Canada Trail will go, but I would think that we're go­ing to be look­ing for walk­ing trails and we're go­ing to be look­ing for little cross coun­try trails and things that can spur off it with some nice view planes. We'd like to see the com­mu­nity come be­hind this. We're look­ing for help here. We're look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion.”

Although the bridge was first pro­posed as a snow­mo­bile over­pass, Har­vey says the new trail sys­tem holds much more po­ten­tial for the lo­cal area.

“It's ex­tremely im­por­tant that peo­ple un­der­stand that it is a huge eco­nomic ben­e­fit to have this trail here and that is a multi-use trail. We'd like to get the snow­shoers, the cross coun­try skiers, the jog­gers, the walk­ers, the horse­back riders, the bi­cy­clists, the Atv-ers, and the snow­mo­bil­ers. All those peo­ple sit­ting to­gether to come with ideas as to how to make this trail the best for all us. Not only the best, but the safest and least of­fen­sive to any­one.”

Ac­cord­ing to Har­vey, the key to mak­ing a multi-use trail work is to build trails wide enough for safe pass­ing and en­force rea­son­able speed lim­its. He points to the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail in In­ver­ness County as an ex­am­ple of a well-used and well-re­spected multi-use trail.

“I've ex­pe­ri­enced ATVS pulling over to the side, shut­ting their mo­tors off and wait­ing for the horses to go by. They do the same with the walk­ers and the cy­clists. The cy­clists will get out of the way of the walk­ers.”

The VCTA met with the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal (DTIR) in late Novem­ber to go over the project de­tails and time­line. The present con­struc­tion fo­cuses on abut­ments on ei­ther side of the high­way on which the bridge will even­tu­ally come to rest. The bridge it­self is largely be­ing built off-site and will be de­liv­ered in a few pieces in ap­prox­i­mately four­teen weeks. If kept on sched­ule, the bridge would ar­rive around the end of Fe­bru­ary or be­gin­ning of March.

Har­vey says fi­nanc­ing for trail con­struc­tion is still a work in progress, but the as­so­ci­a­tion has al­ready made ap­pli­ca­tions to Trails Nova Sco­tia. He adds that a num­ber of recre­ational as­so­ci­a­tions have funds for trail-build­ing. He could see the prov­ince contributing to a sys­tem that leads to and from in­fra­struc­ture that they have al­ready in­vested in.

Above all else, Har­vey said what’s needed now is pas­sion, ideas and a will­ing­ness to help out. Look for a date and lo­ca­tion of the next pub­lic meet­ing in the next is­sue of The Stan­dard.

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