Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rusbhrook Trail completion delays leave locals wondering

The sign on the side of the trail heralds another local development tied in with the Olympic legacy plans, the rejuvenation of the Rushbrook trail, completed in June of 2008.

The only problem, the actual completion of the trail hasn't taken place and there doesn't appear to be much in the way of progress on the interpretive trail that would lead from Rushbrook floats to Seal cove.

The project has a long history with Rotary who have offered up a number of proposals, yet year after year seems to get pushed further and further off the agenda. The Rushbrook project has been the key to recent Rotary fundraising, the topic of City Hall debate and most recently trumpeted in April as making giant strides towards completion.

That delcaration came about as the project was awarded 150,000 dollars from the Olympic/Paralympics Live Sites program, a companion project to one in Port Edward which saw the successful completion earlier this year of an expansion to the dock at the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village Museum.

When the Rupert project received its funding, the City of Prince Rupert provided 25,000 dollars in funding and the Prince Rupert Rotary Club contributed 75,000 dollars to the kitty, while the Western Diversification Fund contributed 27,000 dollars.

So with some 277,000 dollars tallied up, the prospect of progress should have been pretty good.
Yet as we head into fall and the rainy season, far beyond that June completion date, there has yet to be any explanation as to what is happening with the trail and of concern to more than a few residents, what might have happened to all of that funding...

The Daily News picks up the trail of the uncompleted trail in Wednesday's paper.

Trail of disappointment for hikers
Rushbrook Trail users wondering when work promised will be done
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pages one and three

Two local hikers are fuming about the condition of Rushbrook Olympic Interpretive Walkway Trail.

Boyd Cook and Dennis Deverson said they are sick and tired of waiting for completion of the eastside Rupert trail that was supposed to be finished by June 2008.

It's now mid-September and it appears nothing has been done.

"The sign says completion, June, but I haven't seen the completion. It is supposed to be an ocean walk but you can't see the ocean," said Deverson.

In May, the trail was awarded funding worth $150,000 from the Olympic/Paralympics Live Sites (OPLS) program but little to no work appears to have been done. The city has already received two payments for the trail but will not receive the rest of the funding until the project's completion.

In comparison, Port Edward has completed its OPLS project, the dock expansion of the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village Museum, which was awarded $137,000 in grant money.

The city of Prince Rupert coughed up $25,000 for the Rushbrook project, along with $75,000 from the Prince Rupert Rotary Club and $27,000 from the Western Diversification Fund made available through Prince Rupert Community Futures.

The walkway improvement was meant to help promote fitness within the community, provide educational resources for local teachers and create a tourism amenity for the cruise ship facility.
However, it has already missed it's opening date and Cook is wondering what is happening to the money collected so far.

"I would hate to say this but I think the money might have gone to somewhere else because it sure as hell didn't go in to that trail," said Cook.

While hiker access is supposed to be closed, it doesn't take much ingenuity to access the overgrown trail.

Hikers can easily walk around a gate (holding up the Rushbrook completion sign) and enter the trail.

Cook and Deverson use the trail during the summer months for hikes and say they haven't seen any obvious improvements to the trail so far.

Logs still lay across the pathway, damaged signs remain, and old fencing stands rusting.

"There hasn't been a darn thing done.

"You can walk the trail and you can't find anything done. You can find the sign and that's it," said Cook.

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