Central Alberta Regional Trails Society

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Media News Articles 2018 concerning trails in Central Alberta

June 13, 2018, Red Deer Express, by Mark Weber
Provincial funding set to enhance trail system at River Bend
The site will also be used during the 2019 Canada Winter Games
   The Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club has landed a $200,000 shot in the arm from the Province for trail expansion and enhancements at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area.
   The Community Facility Enhancement Program grant will, "Continue to develop River Bend as a regional multi-use, multi-sport facility," said Tom Marr-Laing, president of Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club. The site will also be used for some events during the 2019 Canada Winter Games next February.
   "Because the Canada Winter Games are coming to Red Deer, the City has already been actively involved in doing a series of upgrades and renovations to the site," said Marr-Laing.
   Looking ahead, further enhancements are focused on completing the renovations to the trails, installing 4km of trail lighting and developing some permanent snowmaking infrastructure, he said.
   "We're also pretty excited about it as a cross country ski team," he said. "But it isn't just for skiing and biathlon that this work is being done. These trails are actively used by a wide range of people in Red Deer and Central Alberta," he said, pointing out that the scenic stretch of land is also popular with hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, runners and snow-shoe enthusiasts as well.
   "They will all be able to benefit from this."
   Parkland's ability to secure the CFEP grant was based on leveraging the City of Red Deer funds used for the Canada Winter Games-focused developments at River Bend.
   In partnership with the City, River Bend Golf and Recreation Area and the Canada Winter Games, this grant also provides Parkland with the resources needed to fully develop the community's long-term legacy vision for River Bend's multi-use trail system.
   MLA Kim Schreiner said that it's because of projects like this that the provincial grant was created.
   "It's a program that helps to empower local citizens and community organizations to work together and to respond to local needs," she said.
   "The legacy of the 2019 Canada Winter Games has paved the way for opportunity to not only showcase our great City, but to build on it for future generations of Red Deerians and Central Albertans."
   Deputy Mayor Lawrence Lee noted that the investment is not just for today. "It's for the future generation ahead of us as well. This investment also speaks to the fact that it's not just the novice or the technical skier or cross country runner -- it's for everybody.
   "Anybody in the community will be able to embrace and to experience these facilities and the enhancements to our current trail system that we will be leaving as a legacy. It's part of the Canada Winter Games for sure, but more importantly (it's) part of our community that has always held the importance of daily physical activity."
   Brian Miller, general manager of the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, said that the site is a jewel for anyone to come and utilize anytime through the year.
   "It's about relaxing in a fine place that is close to the City and that everyone has access to. And to improve it now going forward, we look forward to those changes in multi-use (aspects) for many people to use for many, many years to come."
Photo: Red Deer-North MLA Kim Schreiner, Tom Marr-Laing, president of Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club and Barb Miller, MLA for Red Deer-South are pictured during a funding announcement for trail enhancements at the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area. Photo by Mark Weber, Red Deer Express

June 7, 2018, Red Deer Advocate, by Paul Cowley
Paved trail part of Sylvan Lake Park improvement plan
Paving of gravel trail running length of waterfront park began on Thursday
   Sylvan Lake has begun sprucing up its new waterfront park.
   Paving began on the gravel trail that runs the length of the former provincial park that was turned over to the town in January and renamed Sylvan Lake Park.
   Town council voted earlier this year to spend up to $200,000 paving the 850-metre red shale path through the lakeshore park as part of a general effort to jazz up the popular draw.
   Other work will include replacing signs, landscaping, grade improvements, and sod repairs. A number of trees uprooted in last June's windstorm will also be replaced.
   As part of the deal to turn ownership of the former provincial park to the town, the Alberta government provided nearly $2 million for future upkeep and maintenance.
   The upgrades are only the first phase of what is expected to be a major redevelopment of the park and connected lakeshore areas through a project the town has dubbed ReImagine Sylvan Lake.
   One of the first steps town council has made has been to ban all smoking in the park.
   The ban covers cigarettes, hookahs, pipes, electronic cigarettes, medicinal marijuana or "any lighted smoking implement designed to burn or heat tobacco, cannabis or any other weed of substance."
   Once the revised bylaw begins being enforced on July 1 -- after an "educational" period in which signage is erected -- fines for individuals caught smoking start at $250, and rise to $500 and $1,000 for a second and third offence.
   The town has restricted access to the park to make way for paving. The area from the pier to Washroom 2 has been closed off. Visitors are asked to get to the park east of the washroom through Centennial Park.
   While parts of the park are closed the entire beach remains open while work is underway.
Photo by Lana Michelin, Red Deer Advocate

May 12, 2018, Red Deer Advocate, by Sean McIntosh

A preview of Red Deer's next trail
   Some Red Deerians got a sneak peek at the city's next trail this weekend.
   Construction on a trail in Riverside Meadows is expected to begin later this year but before any asphalt is laid down the city wanted input from residents at an open house Saturday at the Riverside Meadows Community Centre.
   "It's a really neat area with beautiful views we're going to tap into and I think we're really opening up the hillside," said Dave Mair, Red Deer parks planning co-ordinator.
   Residents have been very positive about the trail so far, Mair said.
   "We've received a lot of support from people who want to see something like this," he said. "We want to have more use in the parks and to have people getting outside."
   There will be two sections to the future trail. The first section begins at 60 Street and Riverview Avenue, continues toward the community centre and then northwest to connect with an existing trail. The second section begins at the existing trail near Howarth Street Close and travels southwest to 60 Street.
   Mair said a segment of the second section, which will be built on a steep hill, will either be completely made of asphalt or partially made into a boardwalk with wood.
   The asphalt option would allow universal accessibility, but would require more tree trimming, while the boardwalk option would require extra work to ensure it is accessible for all.
   Mair said the boardwalk option has been more well received so far.
   "People already value our trails, that's what we always hear from the public. I think that translates into the (positive) feedback we've already received." said Mair.
   There may be some seating areas and viewing spots on the trail as well.
   Mair said he hopes construction begins Sept. 1 and the trail is complete by the first snowfall. If the trail isn't finished by then, it will be completed by next spring or summer.
   "It's so dense and steep in there, so there will definitely be some work involved to get this finished," said Mair.
Photo: Dave Mair, Red Deer parks planning co-ordinator, stands in front of the site for a future trail in Riverside Meadows Saturday during an open house. Photo by Sean McIntosh, Red Deer Advocate

May 8, 2018, Innisfail Province, by Johnnie Bachusky
Completing trail at Dodd's Lake will be studied
Town starting new trail master plan
   The town is embarking on a comprehensive review of its 20-kilometre trail system, the first since 2010.
   The goal of the  proposed Trail Master Plan, brought to council at its April 23 regular meeting, is to identify gaps in the current system and to have the public engaged through web-based public surveys, open houses and displays, including an interactive map for citizens, at several locations. The first major public engagement event will be held at the annual Mayor's Breakfast in June.
   The new Trail Master Plan, which council approved at a cost of $20,000, will also look at the feasibility of creating a trail completely around Dodd's Lake, which is now only served with a 350-metre stretch on the west side by Hazelwood Estates that connects to 53rd Avenue, and an 80-metre boardwalk on the south side.
   "We need a good up-to-date plan, now that we have our people in place to do these kinds of things. We've got to get busy and get a master plan current and see where we want to go from there," said Mayor Jim Romane.
   During the April 23 council meeting, Crystal Scheit, the town's engineering coordinator, presented a report that stated the 2010 Open Spaces Master Plan will form a "solid" base for the project with many components still relevant for the update.
   She told council through her report that with an approved plan in place  the necessary budgeting will be created for future upgrades and new trail development as the town expands into newly developed areas. As well, added Scheit, enhancements, which will also include special features and assets, can be made to existing trails in areas where gaps have been identified. Her report said the goal is to have a trail network that connects all areas of town.
   However, the idea of completing a trail around Dodd's Lake is "tricky" because parts of it are privately owned while others are designated environmental reserves, noted Romane.
   "It's kind of tricky putting a trail around it," said the mayor. "Ideally I would love to see a trail all around Dodd's Lake, but there are limitations because of these properties and the environment reserves."
   Scheit said last week the idea of creating a trail through private properties will need to be investigated further, but added she did not see why it could not be done in the future if proper planning and public consultation is conducted.
   "These are all things we will be looking at when we do this master plan; what would need to be done in order to accomplish that," said Scheit. "On the north side of the lake there is nothing developed up there at that point. If that area gets subdivided then we acquire the municipal reserve that we need on that side (to) extend the path all the way around once that does get developed.
   "We are just looking at this area in general to make sure it is connected to the rest of the community as well," she added.
   Scheit said it's hoped to have a draft Trail Master Plan completed by September.
   It will then be put to the public for additional engagement and feedback before council has a chance to consider a final report by the end of the year.
Photo: Part of the town's current 20 kilometre trail system at Napoleon Lake. The town is now embarking on a Trail Master Plan to modernize the system and to identify gaps. Photo by Johnnie Bachusky, Mountain View Publishing


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