The City of Port Alberni will be applying for provincial and federal grant funding in order to link up two trails along Rogers Creek.
Port Albern city council authorized city staff on Monday, Jan. 25 to apply to the Canada-BC Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program for a “Linking Roger Creek Trails” project. The project has to be completed by the end of 2021.
“We took a look at the conditions of the grant and the opportunities that we thought were shovel-ready,” explained economic development manager Pat Deakin on Monday.
The proposed project will connect the footpath in Roger Creek Park (at Gertrude and Pemberton) to the west end of the Scott Kenny Trail (near the Fall Fair Grounds).
It is expected to cost half a million dollars, but the grant—if approved—will provide 100 percent of the funding.
Council also committed to the annual maintenance costs of the trail, which is not expected to exceed $15,000 per year.
“This is something we’ve been working on for more than a decade,” said Deakin. “It’s something that the community has wanted to see. With it being 100 percent funding, we thought this was a bigger upside for the city.”
The ultimate goal, he said, is to create an interconnected trail system across the entire Alberni Valley.
Councillor Debbie Haggard expressed her support for the project.
“It really supports our growing tourism market, it supports the need for locals,” she said. “One positive aspect of COVID is the increased need for green space and outside activities for families to do.”
Councillor Cindy Solda asked about lighting and signage on the trails. The Alberni Valley Rescue Squad has expressed concern about the lack of signage and trail maps in the Alberni Valley. Just in the last few months, multiple people have gotten lost in the Rogers Creek Nature Trail behind West Coast General Hospital.
(Rogers Creek was named for Jeremiah (Jerry) Rogers, who was a bushwhacker and head logger for the Anderson Company in 1860, according to Place Names of the Alberni Valley. The Nuu-chah-nulth traditional name for the river is pronounced “maath-sit” and means cold water.)
Deakin explained that trail signage is something that will be coming up at council.
“We’re definitely putting wayfinding signs and interpretive signs on the trail,” Deakin said.