Huntsville Town council voted in April to proceed with the next stage of the Hunter’s Bay Trail extension, hiring Tulloch Engineering to complete the design and environmental assessment, at a cost of $26,000.
The extension would see the trail continued from Orchard Park along the south shore of Lake Vernon, under the Highway 11 bridge, and pop out at the Lakewood Park subdivision, adding about 750 metres of waterfront to the existing trail.
The Town recently received a grant from the PanAm Legacy Fund in the amount of $202,000. They are hopeful, but are still awaiting word, that they will also receive TransCanada Trail Funding in the amount of $167,250. The remaining unfunded amount of $213,750 is the responsibility of the Town. That amount would increase if the TransCanada grant were reduced from the amount requested.
The request did not sit well with councillor Karin Terzianzo, who is also Chair of Finance. “I think we are a month too early on this because until we have the guarantee for the federal funding we don’t know what our share will be. I also don’t agree with committing $85,000 for the next two years. What happens if part of this plan falls apart?”, Terziano continued.
In a motion to defer council’s decision to the April 25 meeting, Terziano was defeated with councillor Stone being her lone supporter.
In the end, councillors were convinced to proceed to the design/EA stage by Town staff, who said they were dealing with a tight timeline. Council also committed to ascertaining if funding would be available from the District Active Transportation fund and through private partnerships.
It’s like saying I can’t afford to heat my house but I’m going to put an addition on anyway.”
Councillor Karin Terziano
“We can’t afford to support the trails we have now, but we are going to build more. And I don’t think council should ever be expected to make a decision without all the answers. That report was premature and there weren’t enough answers. Waiting a month to find out about the other level of funding and District would not have killed the project.”