By KATHY JOHNSON
Before the end of the year, the Town of Lockeport hopes to have repairs and improvements completed to the Trestle Trail, closed more than a year ago because of unsafe conditions.
The town has received a $50,000 grant from the provincial Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage towards the project, which is estimated to cost $150,000.
Mayor George Harding said town council decided to go ahead with the project without incurring a tax increase to cover the cost, after a public meeting where the pros and cons were presented to about 45 residents.
“We gave them a survey form to fill out and we had a good response,” said Mayor Harding. “The majority said they wanted the trestle repaired." "Some were even willing to have a tax increase to help cover the cost” he said, but noted council has chosen not to go that route.
“Council is prepared to use some of our reserves to complete the project,” he said, noting there are still some funding applications they haven’t heard back from yet.
Built on the old railbed, the Trestle Trail is not only a walking trail, it’s the town’s the only emergency access route.
“The three things that council considered when deciding to go ahead with this project… yes it’s a walking trail, but from council’s perspective it is the only designated emergency entrance or exit to Lockeport," the mayor said. "If our causeway should be breached and there was a medical emergency at least an ambulance could get a gurney over and transport the person back from the island.”
The trail also acts as breakwater to Lockeport’s back harbour, said Mayor Harding.
The town is currently seeking bids for a project engineer, and once that is decided the project will be going out to tender, said Mayor Harding.
The project, for the most part, will include placing armour stone and a special fabric required by the Department of the Environment along the trail bed for “shoring it all up.”
The trail was closed because sea level rises and storm surges was undermining the railbed creating sinkholes.
Mayor Harding said there the two trestle bridges also need some minor repairs to continue supporting pedestrian only traffic. He said the Trestle Trail is used often when it is open.
“It’s a beautiful trail because it looks over at Carters Light… We’re hoping to get it done before winter.”