Council in favour of grant application to improve North Perth trail system

·3 min read

NORTH PERTH – Municipal staff brought forward a recommendation on Dec. 14 which could lead to significant enhancements and repairs of the North Perth trail system. Council voted in favour of submitting a grant application under the recently announced COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

Under the new COVID stream, $250 million in combined federal-provincial funding will be dedicated to local governments across the province. North Perth’s allocation is $167,726 for this new stream.

The federal government has indicated that investments under the stream are to support public infrastructure, defined as tangible capital assets, including temporary infrastructure related to pandemic response, primarily for public benefit.

The trail system projects fit into category three of the eligible projects; active transportation infrastructure, including parks, trails, footbridges, bike lanes and multi-use paths.

Municipalities are not required to cost-share under this stream. The federal government will cover 80 per cent of the total eligible costs associated with any approved project and the provincial government will cover 20 per cent.

Due to the tight timelines for the project, it has to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021, staff suggested a project they were confident could be completed by the funding deadline.

In addition to the tight project timeline, the ICIP COVID-19 Stream scope for eligible projects is fairly narrow. Projects are ineligible if construction has already started or contracts have been awarded.

Staff determined that repair and development of the North Perth trail system would be the best fit for this funding. The project work would include repair of two footbridges on the Kinsmen Trail, the Union Street bridge and another north of Line 81. Both footbridges were inspected in 2019 and were determined to be in poor condition and need repair.

An extension of the north trail connection from Listowel to Gowanstown is also part of the proposed project. This extension of the trail has been out of service for some time but the land required to develop the trail connection is now owned by the municipality.

“This is a carryover project for capital items but we feel this fits in very well with this stream and promoting active transportation as well as connecting all avenues of North Perth within that system,” said Amy Gangl, interim manager of recreation.

The final part of the proposed project will be to add washroom amenities to the trail system. In the report to council regarding the proposed project staff stated that a washroom will “benefit users in all seasons.”

“We may look at just porta-potties for next year to evaluate the best location and usages of something like this and possibly look at the future of a more permanent structure,” said Gangl. “This is something that has come through the administrative process efficiency review as a need, so it was a nice tie into this application.”

It is anticipated that the cost of this project work will slightly exceed North Perth’s allocation of $167,726. It is estimated that the total project cost will be approximately $180,000, with the extra funding coming through the Park and Recreation Department’s Trail Development and Maintenance capital budget.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner