South Peace News
Walking trails in Enilda may be constructed in the next few years as Big Lakes County initiates plans under its hamlet upgrade program.
At its regular meeting Oct. 26, council approved the cost estimate of $581,270 to construct two trails in future years. It was the start of debate on the proposed project.
Starting in 2022, each of the five hamlets – Enilda, Faust, Grouard, Joussard and Kinuso – was allocated $200,000 a year for four years.
Council proposes two trails, said Vic Abel, director of public works.
“Council has determined a list of upgrade projects in the hamlets under the hamlet upgrade policy,” said Abel, who retires Dec. 15.
Cost of Proposed Trail A, which is proposed for 897 metres, is estimated at $341,825.
Cost of Proposed Trail B, which is proposed for 637 metres, is estimated at $239,445.
“The mobilization/demobilization, traffic accommodation and other miscellaneous site work costs are split between the two trials in the estimate,” Abel said.
Noth Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zaboltniuk voiced concern about the project.
“My biggest concern is tax dollars and maintaining the trails,” Zabolotniuk said.
“We should maybe raise their taxes.”
Enilda is the only Big Lakes hamlet that doesn’t have a trail system.
For many years, residents of the Enilda area have pleaded with council to build walking trails.
Zabolotniuk suggested council consider trails for rural areas.
Kinuso Councillor Roberta Hunt replied that trails in her hamlet are used more by rural resident than people living in Kinuso.
The incoming director of public works urged council to look at the bigger picture.
“It’s in the best interest of the whole county,” said Kevin Cymbaluk, who becomes the new director Dec. 15.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux echoed his words.
“We can’t think separately rural and hamlets,” Chalifoux said.
“We have to think as a whole county.”
Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin agreed.
“We have to provide services,” Mifflin said.
Interim CAO Roy Brideau added the proposed project will be discussed at council budget meetings Dec. 5-6.
The trail was a priority for the previous council but they said the project would only be done with grant funding.
At its regular meeting July 14, 2021, council selected walking trails in Enilda as a priority project for council to apply for funding from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, created to revitalize communities from the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Big Lakes was not selected for a grant.
Up to $500,000 was available for municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations for projects of over two years.