Media News Articles 2016
concerning trails in Central Alberta
Oct. 27, 2016, Red Deer
Advocate, by Mary-Ann Barr
Stormy summer slowed progress on multi-use
Section from 55th (Hwy 11) to 32nd Streets well received
A $5-million multi-use trail project on the east side of Red Deer
ran into a bit of a snag this year, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
The project, which includes a unique "living wall" and is about
half done along the future 20th Avenue, could have been completed this
year however a wet and stormy summer slowed progress.
"It has been a very challenging year in terms of the weather," said
Wayne Gustafson, Engineering Services manager for the City of Red Deer.
But the good news is that the trail that was completed this year --
from 55th (Hwy 11) to 32nd Streets -- has been well received. People are
already walking and cycling along the freshly laid three-metre wide
Gustafson said the project will continue next year with the
remainder of the trail loop and berm being built from 32nd to 19th
Streets (along 20th Avenue), and then west to Vermont Avenue in Vanier
A tender has been issued for the work next season, and includes
planting 520 trees and 680 shrubs along the trail that features the
The wall, which Gustafson called a pilot project, is comprised of
large earth-filled bags. Grass and other plants will grow into the wall
that doesn't require regular maintenance such as cutting and trimming.
The wall is now topped with a wire mesh fence so that people who might
walk along the top of it won't fall off.
Based on a sound study looking at noise abatement, the height of
the wall and berm is designed to be 2.4 metres (eight feet) above the
future 20th Avenue road surface.
It's the first time the city has built a living wall system but it
has been used successfully elsewhere in Alberta. It doesn't take as much
land, and natural vegetation grows in it to help stabilize it. "So we're
quite excited to see how that works," Gustafson said.
A lengthy row of older trees along the trail route was removed last
year. The new trees and shrubs will be planted in the spring, well ahead
of when construction starts on 20 Avenue, which is sometime in the
future, depending on need and funding.
The landscaping will help alleviate some of the construction
disturbance that will eventually occur, Gustafson said.
Sept. 1, 2016, Red Deer Advocate & Sept. 8, 2016,
Central Alberta Life, by Paul Cowley
Trails society undeterred by major development setbacks
When your passion is trail building,
long journeys and obstacles don't deter you.
In that spirit Central Alberta Regional Trails Society members
accepted the bad news that a proposed 15-km trail in Lacombe County
would not happen this year -- and likely not for some time.
"We've had two major setbacks this year in terms of rural trail
development," said Paul Pettypiece, society president. A Red Deer-to-Springbrook
link through Red Deer County was also stopped in its tracks.
But trail supporters' ultimate goal of creating a trail link at
least between Innisfail and Ponoka remains, said Pettypiece.
"It's just going to take a little longer than we had hoped that's
In Lacombe County, landowner opposition to the trail could not be
overcome. With a handful of property owners unwilling to part with a
strip of land for trail use, and alternative routes extremely costly,
county council voted to drop the project. It meant giving up $695,000 in
grants that had been lined up.
In July, an 11-km link between Springbrook and Red Deer was turned
Red Deer County council voted against the project because of
concerns that public support was unclear and necessary firm commitments
from donors had not materialized.
That trail was expected to cost $2.2 million to $3 million with up
to $1.5 million of that covered by the Trans Canada Trail Foundation if
the link could be in use by the fall of 2017 -- in time for Canada's
150th anniversary celebrations.
Pettypiece said the trails group will continue to push for more
trails and to spread the message of their benefits. In Lacombe County,
the impact of a nearby trail on privacy was a concern of landowners.
Vandalism, littering, loose pets harassing livestock and increased crime
have also been cited as negatives.
"It's going to take some time and it's going to take some efforts
to get out and try to overcome some of these fears that people have," he
Experience in other areas where trails have been built shows that
most landowner concerns did not materialize.
"Most of the fears that people have had are fairly common before
trails are built," he said. "Then they discover that once trails are
built very rarely do these things happen."
Most trail users are responsible and are watchful for those not
respecting the routes.
"Organized trails, especially when there are good connections and
there's a reasonable amount of usage, tend to be self-policing. People
who are trouble-makers don't like an audience."
Pettypiece said the society is still working out its next step, but
public education is expected to be a focus going forward.
Sept. 1, 2016, Blackfalds Life, by Lisa Joy
Lacombe County cancels Trans Canada Trail from Lacombe to Ponoka County
Landowners refuse to sell land for trail system
Building 15.5 kms of the Trans Canada
Trail from Lacombe to Ponoka County border won't go ahead any time soon
after Lacombe County hit a roadblock trying to buy land from landowners.
Lacombe County Manager of Operations Phil Lodermeir told council at
its regular meeting Aug. 25, that local landowners refused to sell the
right-of-way to make way for the trail along the C & E Trail.
"We really want to get this trail built but we're not having
success getting land owners to sell us land."
The county could change the original route for the trail but it
would increase the original $909,734 price tag to $2.1 million. The
county received three grants totalling $695,000 and will lose the
Coun. Dana Kreil asked if the money could be used in other areas
for trails around the county.
"If the money is available I hate to send it back."
Lodermeir pointed out, however, that if the county spends the money
they have to match the funds.
"This will free up money in tough times," said Coun. Kreil.
Coun. Brenda Knight said she was in favour of cancelling the trail
"We are in a bit of a need versus want situation in Alberta. Grants
cost money and sometimes gifts cost you more than what you got for the
gift. The trail is a wonderful amenity. There is always the future."
Reeve Paula Law said the entire trail didn't have to be paved and
the county should proceed.
"We will lose $700,000 (grant). I struggle with closing the door.
Nothing says it (trail) has to be paved."
Council voted in favour of administration's recommendation to
remove the trail project from the 2016 construction schedule. Reeve Law
voted against the motion.
August 30, 2016, Red Deer Advocate & Sept. 8, 2016, Central Alberta Life, by Paul Cowley
County cancels trail project
Landowner opposition has shut down a Lacombe County plan to build a
Creating the link from Lacombe to Hwy 604 just west of Hwy 2 needed
four or five landowners to sell a five-metre strip of their property to
But only one was willing to do that, said Phil Lodermeier, county
manager of operations.
Widening C&E Trail to create space for pedestrians and cyclists was
considered as an alternative but costs would have soared to an estimated
$2.1 million from the previous $1.1-million cost estimate.
Not widening C&E Trail, but designating the road as a pedestrian
and cycling trail was also considered. However, mixing traffic and
walkers is potentially dangerous and could open up the county to
Given the challenges, council voted to cancel the project last
"There was quite a bit of disappointment," said Lodermeier.
The project had been given a big boost earlier in the year when the
county was successful in three separate grant applications totally
$695,000. Two major obstacles -- obtaining necessary permission from
Burman University and Alberta Transportation -- had also been overcome.
Lodermeier said convincing landowners to sell some of their land
proved an insurmountable problem.
"It was funny because they all seemed to think a trail was a really
good idea," he said. "But when it came right down to selling us some
land they all (but one) said no."
Concerns ranged from littering and loose pets bothering livestock
to fears the trail could provide thieves more opportunities.
Lodermeier believes privacy was the biggest issue for many
"I do think it just comes down to that privacy issue and 'we just
don't want people going by our place.'"
Time was an issue as well. The grants were tied to Canada's 150th
anniversary celebrations and trails were to be completed by next year, a
deadline that was becoming less likely to be met.
August 9, 2016, Red Deer Advocate, by Susan Zielinski
Trail project paves way for part of future
Work continues this summer on a multi-use asphalt trail and green
belt to run along what will become 20th Avenue, part of a future ring
road around Red Deer.
Wayne Gustafson, engineering services manager with the city, said
the $4.5-million project, that runs 4.8 km from 55th Street to 19th
Street, is in preparation for 20th Avenue that is scheduled for
construction sometime between 2017 and 2025.
"We hope to have all of the trail done this year right through to
19th Street," Gastafson said on Monday.
"The trail sometimes jumps up on top of the berm. We're meandering
that trail to take advantage of the various green spaces."
The trail will connect to trails at Ross Street, 32nd Street, and
the existing trail along 19th Street, east of 30th Avenue.
Construction of the trail and green belt began last August and
Gustafson said parts of the trail are already being used by runners,
walkers and cyclists.
"It helps create a bigger loop in that southeast area as part of
the trail network. At the same time, it's getting a jump on providing a
bit of a buffer for the future construction of 20th Avenue."
The green belt includes a vegetative retaining wall made of stacked
bags filled with soil that varies in height depending on the elevation
of the future roadway.
The wall will be sprayed with a grass seed mixture which will grow
on the wall.
"It's a bit of a pilot project that we're utilizing to green up the
retaining wall a little bit so it's not just a concrete block wall. It
will allow for the planting of trees and shrubs and grasses and various
plantings inside the wall."
He said the vegetative wall is more cost effective in terms of
up-front capital costs, provides a better visual, and fits well with the
city's environmental initiatives.
The ring road, called the North Highway Connector Project, will be
part of an expressway that will align Hwy 11A, Northland Drive, 20th
Avenue and McKenzie Road when completed to reduce congestion on city
arterial roads and improve traffic movement.
July 21, 2016, Red Deer
Advocate, by Susan Zielinski
Community nature trail a 'lasting legacy' for
Central Albertans have another walking trail to take in the sights
and sounds of nature.
NOVA Chemicals Community Nature Trail, located north of NOVA
Chemicals on Hwy 815, is five km of looped trails with a picnic area,
small bridge crossings, benches, viewpoints and interpretive signage.
The trail opened last fall, but final touches were completed this
"We're getting a lot of positive feedback. It's spreading by word
of mouth," said Rick Van Hemmen, site leader for Joffre.
"It's very well constructed and will be a lasting legacy for the
area. It really does a great job in showing what we believed all along,
that you can have industry living in harmony with wildlife habitat,
agriculture, recreational land uses, all at the same (time)."
NOVA Chemicals Corp. is a Calgary-based company that operates
ethylene and polyethylene plants at Joffre.
The 220-acre trail area has never been tilled for farming and
vegetation includes native grasses, willow, poplar and aspen stands.
Wetlands on site have natural drainage channels to Jones Creek.
"It's not often that you get to have a trail through what is such a
good natural wetland area that's already pretty ripe with a variety of
vegetation and wildlife that you can see on the trails."
Van Hemmen said Nova has planted more than 9,000 seedlings to enhance
the natural ecosystem. Seedlings were planted to make up for trees that
were removed for rail yard expansion at Joffre, but many more trees were
planted than were lost.
The trail project was first announced in 2013 to mark a significant
growth milestone for NOVA Chemicals -- its Polyethylene 1 Expansion
Project at the Joffre site.
The $1-billion project will allow NOVA to increase its polyethylene
output by a billion pounds per year.
He said project construction is about 90 to 95 per cent complete
and is expected to be mechanically complete before the end of summer.
Production is anticipated to start before the end of the year.
Polyethylene is used to make products ranging from plastic bottle
caps and toys to food packaging and bags.
The trail, that takes about an hour to walk, is open to the public
from sunrise to dusk. All recreational users must sign in before using
the trail and sign out before leaving. A box to the right of the
entrance sign contains the registry.
For the safety of users and to preserve the natural landscape,
people must stay on the trails, keep dogs on leashes and pick up after
their dogs (bags are provided), and carry out their garbage. Fires
camping and hunting are not allowed and neither is picking flowers or
Industry in the area regularly tests safety sirens. Trail users
should call NOVA Chemicals if they hear an alarm or siren.
Parking at the trail can be accessed off Township Road 39-0.
July 12, 2016, Mountain View
Gazette, by Dan Singleton
Council denies trail project
"Both Trans Canada Trail and Alberta TrailNet will be
advised that the project will not be proceeding."
Red Deer County councillors have been
given an update on a proposed recreational trail north of Springbrook
along Rge. Rd. 280 to Twp. Rd. 381. The move came during the recent
regularly scheduled council meeting.
On June 7 councillors deferred a decision on approving the project
pending further consultation as to the standard of the trail and for
further information regarding possible donors.
"Following a more detailed review, the estimate now provided for a
semi-developed (gravel) trail is $2,152,323 and for a developed (paved)
trail is $3,047,481," county manager Curtis Herzberg said in a briefing
note to council.
"This includes estimated costs of land acquisition, design and
engineering, trail amenities, supporting infrastructure such as
culverts, pavement and a 20 per cent contingency."
The Springbrook to Red Deer Trail would be considered a regional
trail that would link the two communities together and will have both a
recreational and active transportation perspective, he said.
"The trail will be non-motorized with multi-use including
pedestrians, cyclists, and small wheel users, cross country skiing and
snowshoeing. Due to its higher level of use and development, it is
recommended the trail have an asphalt surface."
An application was previously submitted to Trans Canada Trail and
the Alberta TrailNet Society regarding the project.
"Both organizations have approved a financial contribution to pay
up to 50 per cent of construction costs to a maximum amount of $1.5
million in support of the trail project," he said.
"Funding conditions for the grant include that the project must be
completed by 2017, funding must be matched by 50 per cent, and that the
county is to cover the detailed design and engineering costs."
At the recent council meeting councillors were asked to consider
two options (quote from briefing note):
- Not proceed with the construction of the regional trail between
Springbrook and Red Deer along Rge. Rd. 280 and Twp. Rd. 381 at this
time and deny the request to provide funding to match Trans Canada Trail
and Alberta TrailNet funding in the amount of $1,500,000.
Further to that, both Trans Canada Trail and Alberta TrailNet will
be advised that the project will not be proceeding and grant funding
already received from Trans Canada Trail will be returned.
- Consider a new level of service by providing for trail
development, operation and maintenance and agree to construct a regional
trail between Springbrook and Red Deer along Rge. Rd. 280 and Twp. Rd.
381; agree to provide funding to match Trans Canada Trail and Alberta
TrailNet funding in the amount of 50 per cent ($1,500,000) to develop
this regional trail with funds to come from the community services
reserve account and to amend the 2016 budget accordingly.
During the July 5 council meeting, councillors opted for the first
option, denying the project.
Meanwhile, councillors have approved the construction of a
playground and basketball court off Redwood Boulevard in Springbrook.
"The intent of the project is to create a public space that
provides a variety of physical activity opportunities to the residents
and their families, as well as visitors, to the community and
Springbrook and the Malibu communities subdivision," county manager
Curtis Herzberg said in a briefing note to council.
"The new project includes the construction of a playground
consisting of one playground circuit for children up to five years of
age and one for children 5-11.
"The project also includes a basketball court and the addition of a
garbage/recycling bin, a picnic table and bench."
The land for the playground will be provided by the developer.
Seven bids for the project were received, ranging from $125,000 to
$225,000. Those bids were subsequently analyzed by the planning
department, which recommended the $169,307.75 bid from BDI Play Designs
be accepted ($177,774 with contingency).
Council approved the project budget of $177,774 for the
construction of the playground and basketball court to be funded from
In other news, council approved a chart setting out strategic
priorities for the municipality going forward. The move came during the
recent regularly scheduled council meeting.
"The priorities were determined by council and senior management
working in collaboration with the process being facilitated by Dr.
Gordon McIntosh of the LGL Institute," county manager Curtis Herzberg
said in a briefing note to council.
Council's top strategies identified are the development and/or
review of a growth readiness strategy, third party funding policy,
transportation action plan, community needs assessment and a growth
strategy for Penhold.
Items included as next on the list include procedure bylaw, public
hearing process, residential development consultation, economic
development action plan, and agriculture viability strategy review.
July 7, 2016, Red Deer Advocate,
& July 14, 2016, Central Alberta Life, by Brenda Kossowan
Trail support denied
Local cyclists have vowed to take another shot at getting Red Deer
County's help with a bike trail between Springbrook and Red Deer.
During its regular meeting on Tuesday, county council turned down a
request to build and maintain an 11-kilometre multi-use trail that would
become part of the Trans Canada Trail system. The mayor and council
decided they could not move ahead with the project without assurances of
public support and a firm commitment from other donors.
Mayor Jim Wood and various councillors involved in the discussion
said that, while they support the proposal in principle, they have not
had feedback from their ratepayers and therefore don't have any way of
guaging public response to the project. A community needs assessment is
planned this fall, but it would not be completed in time to proceed with
the project and still meet Trans Canada Trail's deadline, said staff
attending the meeting.
Community services staff had estimated that it would cost between
$2.2 million and $3.04 million to buy the land and build the trail, with
annual maintenance costs ranging from $55,000 to $77,000. Trans Canada
Trail Foundation has committed to covering half of the capital costs, to
a maximum of $1.5 million, providing the trail can be ready to use by
September 30, 2017 -- in time for Canada's 150th anniversary
About a dozen local cyclists attended the meeting, including one
who was happy to see the proposal turned down.
Brenda Carratt said she views the project as a long-term burden on
taxpayers during tough economic times.
"It's a pit that's never going to end," said Carratt.
"Probably there will be another region that can use that $1.5
million. I don't think we're the ones that need it at this time. It's
tough times out there."
Virginia Holt, who lived in Springbrook when it was still known as
Mynarski Park, said local cyclists have been trying for decades to get a
trail built from there to Red Deer.
"For 30 years we've been waiting for the Trans Canada Trail," said
"How long do we wait? Lots of people bike on that road, you know, and
it's very dangerous."
But Carratt said she would not feel safe biking on that trail, or
any other for that matter.
"I'm not going to (bike) down some country road with my daughter
and you don't know who's on that trail," she said.
Paul Pettypiece, president of Central Alberta Regional Trails
Society, said he was "somewhat surprised" that council chose to deny the
project and believes members may have felt backed into a corner to some
"I believe, personally, that (the deadline) could still be
met that if there was enough support that came forward in the meantime,
say in the next 30 days," said Pettypiece.
His group plans to meet with other organizations to see if some
firm commitments can be made and brought back to the county to help
build the trail and look after its maintenance.
"I think we would need to have a tremendous amount of community
engagement, and it might include a petition or something of a similar
nature, so that the county realizes that there is a tremendous amount of
support for this trail," said Pettypiece.
Webmaster notes: Council voted 4-3 against deferring a decision and
against proceeding with the trail. Mayor Jim Wood and councillors
Christine Moore and Jean Bota voted to proceed. Many residents of the
hamlet of Springbrook have supported being part of the Trans Canada
Trail since 1998.
July 4, 2016, Letter to the Editor by CARTS president Paul Pettypiece, Red Deer Advocate
Trans Canada Trail will help connect us,
improve quality of life
Building the Trans Canada Trail in Central Alberta has had many
successes in recent years as well as many challenges. Several
communities north of Red Deer are now or about to be connected to the
largest recreational trail in the world, a legacy project that will be
connect Canadian communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. It is
currently 86 per cent complete nationally and most of the trail will be
on the ground by the fall of 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.
Communities south of the city are eager to get connected.
Red Deer County is considering the 11-km section from Red Deer to
Springbrook as the next connection to be made. Although rural
municipalities have special understandable challenges and concerns,
there are many benefits to rural residents.
Springbrook is a young, vibrant, active and mobile community of
about 1,200 p;eople that already heavily uses the existing trails. There
is no doubt that linking those users to a wider network will reap huge
benefits to the health, well-being and quality of life to that
Rural trails across Canada, including the Blackfalds-Lacombe trail,
have demonstrated that the benefits far outweigh the challenges and
- Trails are a safe alternative for active transportation that
avoids the dangerous walk or bike along a busy high-speed highway or
-Trails provide an affordable recreational means of improving
health and wellness for all age groups.
- Trails encourage a sense of community and place by engaging with
one another and by sharing and exploring their environment.
- Trails improve the quality of life of residents by providing
leisurely access to nature and heritage.
- Trails encourage tourism and economic development as local
businesses serve trail users.
- And rural trails assist urban and semi-urban people to gain an
appreciation of the rural and agricultural lifestyle.
Red Deer County has a huge opportunity to get a significant amount
of trail built at a bargain price. The Trans Canada Trail Foundation and
Alberta TrailNet have approved 50 per cent funding to the county to a
maximum of $1.5 million.
This funding, along with other financial or in-kind donations could
be leveraged so that the actual cost to the county is relatively low.
County Council will be making a decision on the morning of Tuesday,
July 5 on whether or not to proceed.
Support from county residents will go a long way in assuring that
this legacy amenity for present and future generations will go ahead.
Potential trail users, especially those living in the county, need to be
at that council meeting to show their support for this vital link.
President Central Alberta Regional Trails Society
July 1, 2016, Red Deer Advocate, by Brenda Kossowan
County weighing its options for trail
The future of the Central Alberta
section of the Trans Canada Trail is up for debate at Red Deer County
Council on Tuesday.
For some years, members of the Central Alberta Regional Trails
Society have been working on a project that would see construction of a
trail between Bowden and Ponoka. The new trail, now partially complete,
will be part of the Trans Canada Trail Network, which organizers plan to
finish in time for Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017."
The section from the south side of Red Deer through Blackfalds to
Lacombe is now complete, including construction four years ago of a
bridge over the Blindman River, CARTS president Paul Pettypiece said on
However, all that exists south of Red Deer is a one-kilometre
section between Springbrook and Penhold, he said.
The county has already received a portion of the grant promised by
Trans Canada Trails toward building an 11-km section from the south side
of the city to Springbrook, running along Range Road 280.
However, the county is now weighing its options and considering
whether or not it should proceed with the project.
A report to council prepared by community services manager Jo-Ann
Symington estimates the total cost of construction at $2.15 million for
gravel or $3.04 million for pavement with annual maintenance estimated
at $55,000 to $77,000.
Trans Canada Trail and the Alberta TrailNet Society are to provide
half of the construction costs to a maximum of $1.5 million and there
may be some additional funding to come from another source, Symington
says in her report. However, the county has not received that
commitment, she says.
She offers council two options: Consider offering a new level of
service and moving ahead with the project or not proceeding with the
project and returning funds that have been granted so far by Trans
Canada Trail and Alberta TrailNet.
Pettypiece said county council has been reluctant to take on the
role of building and maintaining the trail.
In a letter to council, he expressed concern that monies promised
by Trans Canada and Alberta TrailNet will be diverted to other projects
if the county decides against building the Springbrook section in time
for the 2017 deadline.
In a letter to the county's mayor and council, Pettypiece expressed
concern for the safety of people who bike along Hwy 2A.
"Based on experience elsewhere, we are very confident that there
are a lot more people who would bike to and from Red Deer and Penhold if
there was a safe alternative to the highway," he wrote.
Roadways will be used as temporary links for those portions of the
Trans Canada Trail that have not been finished by the fall of 2017, he
June 28, 2016, Innisfail Province, by Johnnie Bachusky
Napoleon Lake's transformation continues
The ambitious project to upgrade the nature trail at Napoleon Lake
is continuing this spring and could be completed in 2016, a year earlier
Last summer, members of the Rotary Club of Innisfail finished
construction of two viewing platforms with boardwalks at the north and
south sides of the lake. That part of the project was followed in the
fall with the town creating a graded path from the nature trail to the
The project than moved forward last month with the town hiring a
contractor to flatten and smooth out the kilometre and a half long
nature trail from the south viewing deck to an area near the off-leash
dog park at the north end of the lake. That work was completed in two
"It will get rid of some of the bumps and hopefully remove some of
the tree roots, smooth them out so there are no tripping hazards," said
Henry Wong, the town's director of community services, who added the
grooming will also blend in the old "goat" trail that goes through
portions of the main trail. "With the trail being smoothed out a little
bit it will make it easier for not only hikers but also for people who
want to cycle down that trail. It is not going to be smooth like your
paved trails but it will be smoother than what it used to be."
Wong said the cost to the town for the contractor was about $4,000.
The project, which had an estimated original timeline of three years
with a total budget of $(2,000, is a partnership between the town and
Rotary, with the service club paying for two-thirds of the cost and the
town picking up the rest.
Wong said the town will be installing garbage receptacles and up to
five benches along the nature trail, with one bench going on each of the
As well, part of the upgrades at Napoleon Lake will include a
139-metre paved connector path that runs from the west end of 47 Street,
just past the north end of the lake to near the south viewing deck.
Council approved the cost and tendering contract for that work, part of
an overall paving package for several projects in town, on June 13.
The town and Rotary are also in discussions for new interpretive
signage at the lake.
Wong said the number of signs to be installed has not yet been decided
but added some will "probably" be put on the viewing decks to recognize
the efforts of the Rotary club. Others will be put up to mark points of
interest and information on natural vegetation in the area, with
detailed content to be decided later.
Monty Wild, Rotary member and key project organizer, said members
from the service group's Local Projects Committee are expected to meet
with Wong this summer to discuss the placement and types of new signage
at Napoleon Lake.
In the meantime, Rotary members have already received positive
public feedback about the improvements that have already been completed,
"Many of the Rotary members who use the park and trail have heard
comments from a number of people who use the trail now as opposed to
before, and we have heard nothing but positive comments," said Wild.
June 8, 2016, Red
Deer Advocate, by Paul Cowley
County urged to spend $1.5M on Springbrook-to-Red Deer
Red Deer County has a little more leg
work to do before deciding how best to proceed on a proposed Springbrook-to-Red
Grant funding is available to cover up to half the cost - to a
maximum of $1.5 million - of the eight-km route. At least one private
donor has also expressed interest in helping bankroll the project.
The cost of the trail, which would become part of the Trans Canada
Trail, is estimated at $2.4 to $3.2 million.
A report to county council on Tuesday recommended that up to $1.5
million be taken from reserves to go towards the trail that would run
north of Springbrook on Range Road 280 and connect to Township Road 381
and the city's 32nd Street. The amount required would depend on project
cost and private donations available.
Mayor Jim Wood voted with council to defer a decision for a month
to work with the interested donor and review its options.
"Council has chosen today to further negotiate with the donor at
this time," said Wood. "I think we all want to get more information on
where we're at."
In the next month, the county will also see if there are other
donors willing to step up.
"There could be people who would like to, potentially put money towards
something and maybe (provide) a legacy."
Wood said private help would be welcomed, especially at a time when
municipalities are managing their budgets carefully.
Whether to go with a gravel or asphalt trail must also be decided.
"The cost can, in fact, be hugely different," he said, adding
council doesn't have detailed numbers yet.
There is pressure on the county to make a decision soon because
under the Trans Canada Trail and Alberta TrailNet grant programs, the
trail must be done by the end of September 2017.
Besides lining up all the necessary funding, land acquisition,
design, engineering and tendering must be taken care of before the first
shovel hits the ground.
The trail issue will come back to council for its July 5 meeting.
June 2, 2016, Lacombe Globe
Trail maker given Trail Blazer award
On Saturday, May 28, Phil Lodermeier received the highest
recognition bestowed by Alberta's provincial trails organization.
The Trail Blazer award from Alberta TrailNet Society recognizes and
individual, organization or entity that has made significant
contributions to, and demonstrated longstanding commitment and
involvement in trail planning and development in Alberta.
"It's like the Stanley Cup of Trails," said Betty Anne Graves,
Calgary-based board member and vice-president of communications for
Alberta TrailNet. "In selecting the recipient, Alberta TrailNet
recognizes that Trail Blazer accomplishments often reflect the
contributions and commitment of staff, elected representatives,
community trail builders, stakeholders and volunteers within that
Lodermeier received the award in recognition of his efforts and
involvement in building the Trans Canada Trail within Lacombe County.
Lacombe County completed a beautiful section of trail from Lacombe to
Blackfalds and from Blackfalds to the edge of Red Deer (County) in 2013.
They are currently working on a new trail north of Lacombe to connect
with the Bluebird Trail in Ponoka County.
"Phil Lodermeier's passion and enthusiasm has been a catalyst in
the development of trails within Lacombe County," said Reeve of Lacombe
County, Paula Law. "The leg of the Trans Canada Trail between Blackfalds
and Lacombe is a shining example of Phil's vision for designing and
constructing trails. We are eagerly waiting to see what he has in mind
for the section between Lacombe and Ponoka County to complete the
County's portion of the TCT."
Lodermeier was presented the award in a private ceremony on May 30.
County staff members Bill Cade, Dale Kary and Brandon Maier were also
recognized with Trans Canada Trail walking sticks for their trail
"Even though it is a great honor to be selected for this award, the
truth of the matter is that from start to finish the trail program has
many champions in Lacombe County," said Lodermeier.
"The trail would not have been possible without the support of
County Council and their authorization of the time and funding towards
the program. Lacombe County staff has embraced the challenges of
designing, negotiating for land, building and maintaining trails and I
am pleased to share this award with Bill Cade, Dale Kary, Brandon Maier,
County Council and all of the Lacombe County staff."
The award, created by sculptor Rick Silas, is a beautiful large
hand-carved wooden hiking boot on a tree stump that features the names
of the award winners engraved on brass plaques. It will be on display at
the Lacombe County offices for the next 12 months. Each award recipient
also receives a unique hand-carved wooden replica of the larger Trail
Blazer Award mad the sculptor Ilb Rasmussen.
Photo supplied - Brandon Maier (Assistant Public Works Supervisor, Lacombe County),
Bill Cade (Public Works Supervisor, Lacombe County), Linda Strong-Watson
(Executive Director, Alberta TrailNet Society), Phil Lodermeier (Manager
of Operations, Lacombe County), Betty Anne Graves (Vice-President of
Communications, Alberta TrailNet Society), Dale Kary (Maintenance
Foreman, Lacombe County), Debbie Olsen (Director, Alberta TrailNet
June 2, 2016, Red Deer Advocate
Lacombe County manager honoured for building
A Lacombe County manager has been recognized for his trail-building
Phil Lodermeier, the county's operations manager, was named 2016
Trail Blazer by the Alberta TrailNet Society.
"It's like the Stanley Cup of Trails," says Betty Anne Graves,
TrailNet's vice-president of communications in a statement. Lodermeier
was presented with the award at a ceremony in Cochrane on Saturday.
Lodermeier was singled out for his work overseeing the TransCanada
Trail link from Red Deer to Blackfalds and the ongoing work to connect
it to the Bluebird Trail in Ponoka County.
Lodermeier said he shared the award with other county staff and
council members, who have all supported the trail-building initiative.
This year, Lacombe County building a 15.5 km stretch of trail from
the City of Lacombe to the Ponoka County border. Lacombe will build a
1.9-km link connecting to its trail system.
Webmaster note: Phil has overseen the TCT link from Blindman
River to Blackfalds and from Blackfalds to the City of Lacombe.
April 29, 2016, Red Deer Advocate
Lacombe County to
from City of Lacombe to Ponoka County border
Central Alberta's trail system will get a nice boost this summer.
Lacombe County is planning to begin building a 15.5-km stretch of
trail from the City of Lacombe to the Ponoka County border. Lacombe will
build a 1.9-km link connecting to its trail system.
Lacombe County council got some good news on the trail-building
front. The county went three-for-three on grant applications to the
TransCanada Trail, Alberta TrailNet and the province's Alberta Community
In all, $800,000 in grants were lined up.
The county must match the $450,000 raised from the two trail group
grants, which will almost cover the projected $910,000 cost of building
the 15.5 kms.
The remaining $350,000 will be split 70/30 with the City of
Lacombe, leaving the county $245,000 to work with. On Thursday, council
voted to use the extra cash to begin paving a portion of its trail.
About three kms can be paved this year.
April 26, 2016, Red Deer Advocate
Letter to the Editor (by RDABC president
Interchange improvements huge
for city, county
I would like to congratulate the Alberta NDP government of Premier
Rachel Notley and Minister Brian Mason and the staff of Alberta
Infrastructure, Mayor Tara Veer, council, and staff of the City of Red
Deer and Mayor Jim Wood and council and staff of the County of Red Deer
for the recent decision to improve interchanges and access along Highway
2. This will alleviate a long-standing issue of safe access along this
busy stretch of highway, as Red Deerians and residents of the County of
Red Deer will know. With the redevelopment of Gasoline Alley as a
residential hub as well as a thriving business community, this will
enhance the shared connections between the city and county to the
benefit of both, in addition to the safety of those just passing
through. It will be ready for the Canada Winter Games which will
showcase Red Deer and area to the rest of Canada.
I would also like to thank the efforts of Central Alberta Regional
Trails Society which are the leading proponent for a connected
recreational trail system. Recent successes of this group include the
construction of the Trans Canada Trail from Blackfalds to Lacombe. CARTS
is also working with the County of Red Deer to develop the regional
trail system from Penhold to Springbrook subsequently connecting to
Gasoline Alley and the City of Red Deer.
Currently, there is no pedestrian access to Gasoline Alley. As part
of the infrastructure improvements to be made to the Highway 2
interchanges and collector roads, pedestrians, cyclists, and other
active commuters will be accommodated via a path along Taylor Drive,
under Highway 2. The connecting trail systems are under the jurisdiction
of the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County.
Including an option for active travel for those who choose or by
necessity walk, run, bike, rollerblade, or long-board as part of their
daily commute or recreational activity can only benefit health and
safety for vulnerable road users, the environment, and also for us
drivers in reducing congestion and improving accessibility. Society as a
Well done, and keep up the good work.
Bill Franz, Red
Association for Bicycle Commuting
Jan. 27, 2016, Camrose Canadian, by Glenys Smith
society develops eco-tourism at Meeting Creek
Established in 1988, the Canadian Northern (Meeting Creek)
Historical Society, in conjunction with several partners, is playing an
active role in the development of an extensive Linear Park system in
East Central Alberta.
Seven sections of Natural Linear Park, located on abandoned rail
bed owned by the East Central Alberta Heritage Society, have already
been created. The four kilometre sections total approximately 25
kilometres out of more than 114 kilometres of available right of way
between Edberg and Rumsey, AB. Located in natural virgin territory, the
trails are ecologically important. They help to preserve wetlands and
provide the treed corridors required by a variety of migrating bird
species, while creating excellent opportunities for people to connect
with nature. The parks are fenced and gated. There are no road
crossings, industrial activity or heavy equipment usage on the trails.
Public access is by foot only, and no motorized vehicles of any kind are
allowed. It is hoped that a Natural Linear Park encompassing the entire
114 kilometres of right of way can eventually be created.
Phase I of the Canadian Northern Society's participation in the
ongoing development of the Linear Park system involved the enhancement
and promotion of the existing trail system between Edberg and the
Meeting Creek Railway station. Phase II of the Society's participation
is underway and involves developing a two kilometre interpretive trail
through the seven hectares of land owned by the society. This will
extend the existing trail east to Highway 56. The trail development will
include the building of fences and access gates on the abandoned railway
line east of the Meeting Creek Railway Station and Elevator. It also
involves the restoration of an eight hectare prairie grassland area
using organic methodologies that are unique, align with the natural
characteristics of the area and can serve as a model for others to
The Linear Park trails contain virgin soils and an abundance of
diverse flora and fauna. The society has developed discovery kits that
can be used on self or guided tours of the existing Linear Trail
directly east of Meeting Creek. These kits contain information about the
many birds, insects and plants along the trail. On these tours,
individuals may see a wealth of different flowers that bloom throughout
the season, as well as blue birds, cedar waxwings, rarely seen meadow
larks, red tailed hawks, ducks and a variety of sparrows. The discovery
kits also include a brief history of the railway line that once occupied
The Canadian Northern Society has a vision for the maintenance and
development of the property at Meeting Creek that is holistic and
includes several dimensions. The existing historic 1913 railway station
and 1930 elevator that have been restored by the society are already
being used to engage and stimulate inter-generational involvement and
interest in prairie and railway history. The grassland restoration and
trail development project opens up access to an ecosystem that is
beautiful, diverse and relatively untouched. Once completed, it will add
the dimension of eco-centre to the property by preserving important
habitat and biodiversity.
The entire linear park system and the project at Meeting Creek will
be used as an example to educate the public about how an ecological
system works and how the watershed impacts their own daily lives. It
will demonstrate the effectiveness of a restoration process that does
not require the use of toxic herbicides or artificial fertilizers that
pollute our water systems. The trail system will be used by locals and
visitors. Its use will help to connect people to their place in nature,
promote healthy lifestyle activities, teach the history of the area, and
illustrate the value of ecology and the need for conservation.
Educating the public about benefits of the project to the Meeting
Creek community should result in community pride. Education about
organic techniques will also encourage the further development of , and
advocacy for, organic practices that save our water supplies and
environment. Events such as guided at the yearly ball tournament,
Prairie Fun Days and booked bus tours will result in an increase in
tourism, with commercial opportunities for people in the community such
as supplying lunch, meals and sale of local products. Based upon the
Grade 4/5 environmental curriculum, the society also plans to offer a
yearly Celebrate the Earth Day at Meeting Creek for school children. The
first of these will be held on June 15 of this year and include elements
related to the rich aboriginal history of the area. (The society is)
currently taking bookings for this event. All Battle River School
Division Schools are welcome to register.
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