April 25, 2017; Liverpool, NS: Trails work in Queens County will progress in 2017, advancing non-motorized and shared-use trails throughout the county. Laura Barkhouse, Regional Trails Coordinator, provided an update to the Region of Queens Council on behalf of three Trails organizations in Queens County.
The Brookfield Mines Trails Association, the Queens County Rails to Trails Association and the Queens County ATV Association have all worked closely with Barkhouse, as they move their projects forward. She indicated that recent ACOA funding announcement for the Brookfield Mines Trails Association will allow the group to achieve significant progress in their multi-use trail construction, taking the project from Caledonia to Colpton. The 18 kilometre stretch of trail will have signage, gates, and benches installed this year. The Gold Mines Trail project was also funded in 2016/2017 in the amount of $5,000 by the Region of Queens Municipality’s Facility Development Major Category grant.
The work of the Queens County Rails to Trails Association has been progressing, and currently they are managing and maintaining a trail system that connects Brooklyn to Lunenburg County, Port Mouton to Shelburne County, and Summerville Beach to Silver Rock Drive. At present, portions of the trail construction are being completed, and planning and partnerships are ongoing. There are plans underway to include the Trestle Trail and the Trestle Trail Bridge in the trail system of the Queens County Rails to Trails Association. At present, planning is ongoing. There is a preliminary assessment planned for this summer to assess the structure, and route planning for connectivity is also underway. Based on the results of the assessment, fundraising will begin to support the construction needs identified. The group is optimistic that repairs could be completed in 2018. Barkhouse noted that prior to construction, community consultation will be part of the process.
Managing and maintaining the trail north from Brooklyn is the responsibility of the Queens County ATV Association. Currently, they are finalizing construction on this section of trail, and have established relationships with the Nova Scotia Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and Environment. These partnerships are crucial in planning the further development of the trail system in Queens.
Shared use trails have significant impacts on communities, Barkhouse noted, citing examples such as increased opportunities for tourism and tourism businesses, jobs in rural areas to support trail users’ needs, enhanced recreational and leisure/quality of life for the community and visitors, spin off business for existing and developing businesses from trail building and maintenance, and others.
A well developed and maintained trails system is a benefit to a community. Barkhouse advised Council that the top searches for Queens County on the South Shore Connect website (southshoreconnect.ca), a website that provides information about recreation, leisure and services in communities on the South Shore, were primarily trails/walking routes related. Carter's Beach, Thomas Raddall Provincial Park, Queens Place Emera Centre, Queens Rails to Trails Association, and the Trestle Trail being among most frequently searched topics.