A grant of $500,000 was presented to Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society (KTS) to design and construct the new Cloudberry Trail, announced by the federal government through representatives on a visit to Prince Rupert on Aug. 23.
Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) Harjit S. Sajjan announced the funding for the local trail organization among 10 other North Coast organizations that will receive varying portions of more than $2.62 million from the Canada Community Revitalisation fund and Tourism Relief Fund.
The in-person announcement by the minister was hosted by KTS and attended by more than 50 people near the new trailhead across from the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre. Guests included Skeena Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, Prince Rupert MayorLee Brain and various recipients of the funding.
“I had a great tour … of the Kaien Island trail network which will allow Prince Rupert residents and visitors to spend more time enjoying nature,” the Minister said.
The proposed five km trail will essentially run from the area of the civic center, parallel along Highway 16, up the mountain and into the rainforest, exiting near Tall Trees and Butze trails. the funding will be used to construct the first segment of the Cloudberry trail.
“The trail will be separated to provide safe access, so people won’t have to ride their bikes, walk, or be on the highway with trucks and vehicles going by. It will essentially allow people of different mobilities and people without access to a vehicle to get out to existing amenities and future amenities,” said Sean Carlson, of KTS.
The trail will be a separate path to provide safe access to people riding bikes, or walking along the highway allowing different mobilities for all without access to a vehicle.
The trail will be built to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, but as a user-friendly amenity, the trail society has accessible transportation to encourage another avenue to get people using the trails.
“Our trail rider … is an adaptive wheelchair that provides individuals with all mobilities the opportunity to experience what Prince Rupert has to offer. When it’s not in use it’s made available to our local grounds search and rescue crew, giving them another tool to help during an emergency and support our first responders,” Carlson explained.
“There’s so much innovation that’s actually out there,” Harjjit said. “It’s neat that you guys are actually … giving some mobility for the disabled as well.”
Carlson said it can be disappointing for people who can not access the outdoors.
“We want trails and we want our community to have access to the outdoors. That’s why people move here. When people move here and don’t have access, it’s kind of like — it’s right there, but …. You can’t get out,” he said.
In 2017 Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society was formed to “fill a need in Prince Rupert,” Carlson said. Money was being raised by a community group to restore the 1.2-kilometre Rushbrook waterfront pathway and to overcome some final challenges the trail society agreed to take over the operation and maintenance for the city.
“Over the last five years, we are continually amazed at the benefits of this trail not only for residents but for visitors coming to Prince Rupert. It provides a much-needed and desired connection to the principle of waterfront and the new link to the restored salt marsh in Seal Cove,” he said, adding in a five-minute run down the pathway, he usually passes 30 to 40 trail users and even more on a sunny day.
A master plan for a trail network of pathways and loops allowing the community safe access, connecting mountains, sea, and neighbourhoods in the city and Port Edward is part of the 2030 Prince Rupert Vision, Carlson said.
“It is a testament to the grit and ingenuity of the people that call this place home and what we can accomplish as a community to see Prince Rupert become a landmark on the west coast and in Canada.
“For local societies like Kaien Island Trails, we play an integral role in helping to build and maintain amenities used to make Prince Rupert a world-class place to live, work and play,” the trails society president said.
“I would like to thank the Government of Canada for this funding contribution to this project and look forward to the support of local industrial partners to see the full build out of the Cloudberry Trail and the Kaien Island trail network.”
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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