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President's Report
AGM June 2010
   The mandate of the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society (CARTS) is to promote and foster trail development in Central Alberta. For several years now, CARTS has focussed its efforts on developing the Trans Canada Trail within Central Alberta. Working with dedicated volunteers, municipalities, Alberta TrailNet (ATN - the provincial trails organization) and Trans Canada Trail Foundation (the national trails organization) we have been making progress.
   This report will provide an outline of progress to date and provide information on the society's plans for the coming year.
   - One of the first steps in the process of building TCT in Alberta was to get Central Alberta on the TCT map. Several years ago, the planned route for the TCT did not take in most of the communities in this region. CARTS did not believe that it was a wise idea for Canada's national trail system to bypass one of the busiest corridors in the province. CARTS also believed that Central Albertans had a strong desire to have and use trails and would welcome a trail that could link their communities.
   - Through CARTS, Central Alberta's municipalities have been working together on trails. Several years ago, the map for the TCT was changed in Alberta to include a trail linking communities from Penhold to Wetaskiwin. Much of the trail registered as TCT was done so on road rights-of-way with the intention of moving it to an off-road trail. To this end, we have had meetings with members of Alberta Transportation, MLAs, municipal councillors, and members of ATN and TCT. To date, most of the trails between communities and within communities along this corridor have been registered as TCT.
   - Registering these trails was vital in order to obtain funding available from the TCT Foundation and ATN. Each organization can contribute up to twenty percent of the costs of building a trail or 40 percent in total.
   - Once Central Alberta had a registered section of TCT, we asked the TCT Foundation to fund a TCT coordinator position to assist our small band of volunteers in moving along the process. For the past three years, Derry Armstrong has been working with CARTS to help build the TCT in Alberta. A few months ago, we received word that the funding for this position had been discontinued, but there is no doubt that Derry has helped in the efforts to promote and build trails in Central Alberta.

2010 - A year for Building Bridges
The Bridges: In order to link communities within Central Alberta, several bridges were necessary. The two key bridges are located between Blackfalds and Red Deer over the Blindman River and in Ponoka over the Battle River. CARTS helped municipalities in these regions apply for and receive funding from the TCT Foundation for the engineering of both of these bridges and have helped them apply for and receive funding for a large part of the construction costs. We also contacted the Canadian military engineers to seek their assistance in building the bridges. This past year, both bridges were completed on time and on budget.

Trails: A great deal was accomplished in terms of trail-building in Central Alberta this past year. Each community involved in CARTS had significant trail development. In addition, work has been done in terms of linking trails between communities. Red Deer County has begun the work of linking Springbrook and Penhold and anticipate that trail to be completed by the end of this year. Lacombe County has been working on plans to link the bridge they just constructed with a walking/biking trail that connects to the Town of Blackfalds. The Town of Ponoka just constructed a bridge over the Battle River and has built a significant amount of trail connecting it to the border of the County of Lacombe and JJ Collette Natural Area.

Funding: CARTS is organizing a specific fund for Central Alberta Trans Canada Trail (TCT) through the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. This should be in place very soon. This will ensure that funds raised in Central Alberta stay in Central Alberta.
   The last round of TCT Funding will be given out this year and CARTS hopes to help the communities in Central Alberta who are still working on TCT trail construction to obtain funding.
   There are several proposed trails in Central Alberta that are not designated as TCT. CARTS may be able to assist with setting up a special fund through Alberta TrailNet so that donors can receive tax receipts and that money can stay in Central Alberta. We have already talked to ATN and will proceed with that as the need arises.

Resolution: CARTS helped to coordinate Central Alberta communities in bringing forth a resolution regarding trails to the AUMA (Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) Convention which took place in November 2009. The jointly-sponsored resolution asked the provincial government and Alberta Transportation to consider non-motorized modes of transport when they are building or upgrading roads and highways. It was passed almost unanimously at the AUMA Convention.
Future Plans:
The coming year will be a busy one for CARTS. Here's what's on our list:
Blindman River Bridge: The County of Lacombe and CARTS are hosting a grand opening event for the Blindman River Bridge on June 5, 2010 at 1 pm.
Battle River Bridge: The Town of Ponoka will be scheduling a grand opening ceremony for the Battle River Bridge in the coming months.
More Trail Construction and Planning: CARTS continues to support trail development in Central Alberta and is currently working to assist Lacombe County in planning trails to link the new Blindman River Bridge with Lacombe and Blackfalds. Red Deer County is planning to complete the linkage between Springbrook and Penhold this year and have several other key trails identified in their future plans. Ponoka is planning to get more trail on the ground linking the town with JJ Collette Natural Area and the borders of Lacombe County.
Promotion of Trails: Several Central Alberta communities are planning events this summer and fall to promote trails. CARTS will continue to encourage and promote such events.
CARTS Website: In the past couple of years, Paul Pettypiece, the current Vice-President of CARTS has developed an excellent website to help promote and inform Central Albertans about trails.
A Note of Thanks: CARTS appreciates the support of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation and Alberta TrailNet in moving Central Alberta trails forward. CARTS would not exist without the support of dedicated Central Alberta volunteers and the support of the municipalities in Central Alberta. Together we can build something special.
CARTS Current Community Participants: City of Red Deer, Counties of Red Deer, Lacombe and Ponoka, Towns of Penhold, Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka and Sylvan Lake, and Hamlet of Springbrook.

- Debbie Olsen, President of CARTS

Sylvan Lake







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