Ottawa adds cash to Trans Canada Trail

Contributions to the Trans Canada Trail Foundation will go a little further from now on as the federal government aims to have an unbroken national chain of recreational trails go as far as Canada’s three oceans by 2017.

Contributions to the Trans Canada Trail Foundation will go a little further from now on as the federal government aims to have an unbroken national chain of recreational trails go as far as Canada’s three oceans by 2017.

After walking on a segment of the trail in rainy Victoria on Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement that the government would commit one dollar to the project for every two dollars raised through public contributions by the Trans Canada Trail Foundation.

The federal funding limit for the donation matching program is $25 million over four years.

A government release said the trail will help connect Canadians to nature, provide health benefits and inspiration, and generate millions in economic benefits.

The trail project began in 1992, as part of Canada’s 125th birthday celebrations. The goal is to complete it from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic oceans by 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Nearly 17,000 km of trail is already operational across the country, with the end result expected to cover 24,000 km.

Alberta trails other provinces when it comes to Trans Canada Trail development, with many segments of trail completed but missing connecting linkages.

In Central Alberta, there is a trail connection between Red Deer and Lacombe, with the Blackfalds to Lacombe section having opened in 2013. Plans are in place for sections reaching from Ponoka to Bowden, with county governments on board with trail proposals but concerned about the costs they could incur.

Thus, said Central Alberta Regional Trails Society vice-president Paul Pettypiece, increased government funding could give those projects the needed push.

“It is excellent news because there are a lot of trail projects in Central Alberta that need completing,” said Pettypiece.

Lacombe County has plans to bring the trail from its current endpoint near its northern boundary to Lacombe. Trails between Red Deer and Penhold are in the works and a concept plan for trails connecting Penhold to Innisfail and Bowden has been considered by Red Deer County council and town councils along the route.

Capital development costs for a Penhold to Bowden trail could range from $29,800 for a crude trail to over $6 million for a fully-developed track, according to the concept plan.

“I certainly think it’s possible to complete the links (by 2017). It’s not a sure thing by any means but it’s certainly possible,” said Pettypiece, “From Bowden south, that’s a little trickier. I can’t see that being completed, but who knows? If there’s enough money, anything’s possible.”

When Blackfalds’ Abbey Centre multi-purpose facility opens in March, it will feature what Pettypiece believes will be the only indoor stretch of the trail. Designed to accommodate activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback-riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and canoeing, the part land, part water national trail will be one of the longest recreational trail networks in the world.

Municipalities or regional/provincial trail groups can apply to the Trans Canada Trail Foundation for funding to complete a stretch of the trail and provide trail maintenance. For more information, visit www.tctrail.ca.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month