A proposal to finish the Grand Trunk Pathway – popularly known as the Millennium Trail – has been submitted to the provincial government in hopes of getting a $500,000 grant.
That application to the province’s Active Transportation Infrastructure program would cover just under half of the estimated $1.05 million cost, with the city coming up with the remainder from a federal gas tax rebate it gets from the federal government.
The proposed project would extend the trail for just under 1.5km from the north side of Hwy16 at the Frank St. intersection to the bridge crossing the Kalum River just west of Kitsumkalum.
Although that would provide challenges, crossing intersections and private driveways along the route, it is considered less complicated and would be far less expensive than proceeding on the south side of Hwy16, a 2018 study commissioned by the city determined.
That study did not include cost estimates for pathway lighting – this feature was added in 2019 when the city properly fleshed out an estimated price tag.
“If funded, this project would complete this key recreational and active transportation linkage west to Kitsumkalum First Nation, while also addressing safety issues along this corridor,” a briefing note written for council the end of February indicated.
The vision for a walking and cycling trail from Terrace to Kitsumkalum dates back to a city study in 2002. Since then two sections of the Grand Trunk Pathway have been completed with the second now stopping at the Frank St. and Hwy16 intersection.
Among the considerations for the third Grand Trunk Pathway were relocation of existing signage and landscaping along a provincial transportation ministry right of way and on CN property, land acquisition costs and, as the 2018 study indicated, “costs for potentially unusually challenging permitting processes required to achieve project approval from various land owners and stakeholders.”
That study recommended against continuing on the south side of the highway – an extension there would be constrained by the presence of Howe Creek and extreme closeness to the CN rail line.
The south option would be considerably more expensive because it would require an elevated 600-metre causeway structure over Howe Creek and a walkway structure under the vehicle bridge spanning the Kalum River at Kitsumkalum, factors which could cost as much as $2.3 million in 2018 dollars.
The application to the province is the second one to be submitted by the city — a first one to the provincial Rural Dividend Fund in 2019 was halted when the province diverted the money instead to programs for laid off forestry workers.