SACKVILLE, N.B. – More than 15 years after the idea first came to the table, the dream of a pedway crossing the Trans-Canada Highway to bridge Sackville’s trail system continues to live on.
Ross Thomas, a member of the Tantramar Outdoor Club, told town council last month during one of its public budget meetings that the project is one that has been talked about on and off for nearly two decades and hopes it doesn’t fall off the town’s radar.
“It’s something I think the town should really consider,” he said. “It would be an incredible facility and I think would markedly increase the use of the trail.”
A pedway would connect both sides of the highway, making it easier and safer for walkers and cyclists who currently have to choose between taking a “poorly-signed and long detour” up Mallard Drive and across the bridge on Main Street or risk their lives to cross four lanes of highway at the TransCanada Trail intersection, said Thomas.
“If it got built in time (it) would not have to be named a memorial pedway,” he said.
Several models have been proposed over the years but because of the costs involved, the pedway project has never moved forward.
Thomas pointed out, however, that there could be opportunities to seek grants or funding from other levels of government since a pedway would not only increase the safety along that section of trail but also serve as a great incentive for more residents to use the trail system.
It could also be a big draw for the town, with a pedway structure serving as a unique attraction in the area, he said.
“Having a pedway there with wrought-iron artwork would be quite dramatic.”
Councillor Bill Evans voiced his support for a pedway in general but said he was unsure whether there could be any commitment in the 2018 budget for the project.
“You sold me on the pedway in my heart. I just have to find a way with my head and my wallet to go for it too.”
– Councillor Bill Evans
The Tantramar Outdoor Club, with about 250 members, also hopes the town will further its efforts with trails and bike lanes throughout the community.
The Tantramar Outdoor Club was one of about half a dozen groups making presentations to council last month in hopes that their annual requests for programming, operational and/or capital funding will be granted again in 2018. This included Sackville’s Early Music Festival, the Tantramar Heritage Trust, Live Bait Theatre, and Renaissance Sackville.