By Stephen Hawboldt
Danny Phinney, President of the Annapolis County Trails Society (ACTS), told the April session of the Annapolis County Council that a multi use trail will be built on the former Dominion Atlantic Railway corridor from west Lawrencetown to Tupperville.
The councillors were told that earlier this month ACTS received the letter of authority from the Department of Natural Resources. Phinney said that the 17.5 km section will take three years to build at an estimated cost of $700,000.
In 2014, the trail from west Lawrencetown to the Balcom Road will be developed to the more rigorous destination trail standards that creates easy passage for bicycles. Phinney said that almost none of the trail developed so far by ACTS meets the standard that is now required to support active living tourism in the province.
This section includes the village of Paradise where citizens have strongly opposed motorized traffic on the former rail line as it passes very close to many homes. In some locations, the trail is within a few meters of private homes. That group of citizens was unsuccessful in their court action to have this section of trail designated as non motorized.
Phinney told the council that this trail will be carefully managed and be suited for bicycle travel as well as motorized vehicles. The District 7 councillor, Timothy Habinski, reminded the ACTS’ president that, “strong policing needs to be a priority.”
Phinney said that any opposition maybe due, “to an element of one or two people who have stirred the pot.” Habinski disagreed, telling Phinney that during the municipal election in 2012, most people he talked to in the Paradise area were very concerned about motorized traffic so close to their homes. If issues arise, Phinney invited citizens could call him or John Stacey at the Department of Natural Resources in Lawrencetown.
According to Phinney, the section from Tupperville to Annapolis Royal will be developed following completion of the current section. The Annapolis Royal to Bear River section will take even longer and will be non-motorized due to the loss of major bridges and Crown land purchases.
Phinney thanked the councillors for their annual support of $5,000 for trail maintenance. He asked them to consider increasing the $25,000 capital grant.