July 25th, 2024

Canyon Creek trail connection likely a long-term idea due to cost

By Collin Gallant on June 22, 2024.

Several dozen homeowners are petitioning the city to consider extending a trailway along S. Boundary Road to the Canyon Creek Subdivision. Officials told a committee meeting Monday that an expansion would be difficult and a study this year will prioritize projects.--News Photo Collin Gallant

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Transportation officials are evaluating a request to extend a portion of a trail system to a remote subdivision in the city’s southwest, but say the project could be a lower priority when upgrades and expansions are scheduled later this year.

Residents of the 22-home Canyon Creek subdivision have lobbied the transportation planner to be connected to pathway opened five years ago, Thursday’s meeting of the development committee heard.

Staffers said however that difficulty in the terrain – 1 kilometre of winding, narrow road over a low-level bridge and up a steep hill to S. Boundary Road – could push development cost above $1 million.

That is likely too much money when other less expensive projects would serve more people.

City engineer Stan Nowakowski said his department is examining the entire trailway system as a side project to a general Transportation Plan update expected in late 2024.

The “Active Transportation Plan” will focus on “filling gaps” and improving pathways in established neighbourhoods with higher population density that see more use.

Chair, Coun. Shila Sharps, said Canyon Creek residents are entitled to consideration, and the project will be considered in longer term planning.

“With a taxpayer’s hat on, you look at that road and think about kids riding bikes and you worry,” she added. “If this is a 10-year plan (of trail projects), let’s get it in there.”

Coun. Alison Van Dyke and Andy McGrogan agreed.

“$1.2 million is a lot of money,” said Van Dyke. “There’s a need to get a plan in place ahead of time to be prudent.”

Currently a pathway in the subdivision links upper and lower phases in the Seven Persons Coulee.

The Cimarron Area Structure Plan, north of Desert Blume, included pathway, though the 2009 plan has largely been abandoned as the private developer is out of business and land there is still under original private ownership.

The trail along S. Boundary links city paths in South Ridge to the Cypress County hamlet of Desert Blume, and was completed in 2019 as a project of the Rotary Club.

It received a matching $400,000 grant from the Alberta Lotteries Fund, while the county and city jointly planned the construction and assumed their portions of trail as a recreation asset to maintain.

Planners and parks officials said having projects funded by third parties and given to the city is a different matter than green-lighting city construction dollars, but the project, including an alternate alignment, is being studied.

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