City jumps ahead on improving SABNES trail

A rocky section of the Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society foreshore trail will be getting something of a facelift sooner than expected.

A rocky section of the Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society foreshore trail will be getting something of a facelift sooner than expected.

Last week, Salmon Arm Council approved a late request from the city’s Greenways Committee to reallocate funding in the city’s budget for greenways, to the tune of $46,500, in order to take advantage of an opportunity to upgrade a 225-metre section of the trail later this summer or early fall. Council also approved putting $10,000 from council initiatives towards the project.

Coun. Kevin Flynn, who chairs the Greenways Committee, explained before this year’s budget, the upgrade was priority number one for the committee.

“The concern was environmental, fisheries and cost,” said Flynn. “And so, what happened was the SABNES trail got included in the budget with $10,000 going towards a study to deal with the environmental issue. It was also expected the SABNES trail would cost, initially – somewhere between $80,000 and $108,000 was the projection.”

The 225-metre portion, on the northern leg of the trail, floods annually during spring freshet and under normal seasonal conditions. Much of it is comprised of loose, uneven gravel. City staff have proposed raising this portion to an elevation of 348.5 metres. In addition, five culverts will be installed for fish passage.

What’s prompted the push to proceed with the upgrade is the double tracking works being done in the area by CP Rail and contractor Hoban Construction.

Public works manager John Rosenberg explained he recently had an opportunity to take part in an onsite meeting with CP and Hoban and, afterwards, was able to discuss utilizing equipment and materials for the trail upgrade. The end result is that CP Rail is allowing Hoban to “sling” material (400 cubic metres of acid-tested gravel) from the CP right-of-way onto the trail. Rosenberg said this method would save the city several hundred trips. Overall, the partnership is expected to save the city about $27,000.

Rosenberg said the city is also hoping to reallocate labour from the Shuswap Trail Alliance, which would further add to the savings. The only hurdle is meeting the requirements of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“In our discussions, one of the issues that Fisheries has sometimes had in the past is mitigation and remediation, and I think you explained that some of the work we’re doing here probably qualifies because of the culverts,” said Flynn. “That’s just a matter of getting final approval.

“The Greenways Committee thought this was a great opportunity to do what was the number-one priority with very little increase in spending this year and just re-allocating some of what hasn’t been used in some of the other projects.”

Of concern to Coun. Chad Eliason was the re-allocation of money intended for signage for the South Canoe trail system. Flynn said Eliason raised a good point, and hoped the city would continue budgeting for Greenways.

“The South Canoe Management Plan isn’t finalized and isn’t ready to spend the rest of those dollars on this year’s budget anyways,” said Flynn. “The signage is going to get done and that’s why we’re leaving $15,000 in there.”

Coun. Alan Harrison called the opportunity a huge win, not just for all the reasons mentioned, but because it would make the trail accessible for a much larger part of the year and the DFO issues will be looked after.

 

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