Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A trail no longer followed

The much discussed, defended and delayed Rushbrook trail project won’t be upgraded in the foreseeable future, as the Rotary Club which has been trying to get the trail updated for a number of years now regrettably announced that the rising cost of the project had put it beyond the grasp on the service club’s resources.

Rotary decided to drop the long term project after a Work Safe BC requirement for a Hazard/Risk Assessment on the cliff face of the trail, which Rotary anticipates would cost between 800,000 and 2 million dollars.

Money that they didn’t have the resources for, and apparently don’t believe is to be raised in any short order. The money that had already been donated whether locally or by government grants will be returned, less some 27,000 dollars that launched the project back in 2004.

The decision brings to an end for now, the four year journey that began in November of 2004, with the ambitious goal of a walking trail from Rushbrook floats to Seal Cove. From local fundraising to the quest for governmental financing, the project seemed to get frequently bogged down, with many in town questioning whether the project would ever get underway.

For those who wish to track the developments of the trail, we have some selective reading from our archived items from the blog below.
What may be the final tribulations of the Rushbrook trail, were documented in a front page headline story in Monday’s Daily News.

Upgrade of Rushbrook Trail will not happen after costs spiral out of supporters' reach
The Daily News
Monday, December 8, 2008
Pages one and three

The Rushbrook Trail upgrade is no more. The Rotary Club of Prince Rupert said that it could no longer afford to put the provincially funded Olympic live Sites together, citing rising bureaucratic costs.

"The reason for the withdrawal is that a further expensive study is now required by Work Safe BC in order to determine a Hazard/Risk Assessment of the trail cliff face," the Rotary Club announced in a prepared statement.

"The purpose of the study would be to ensure a safe work environment for trail construction, as there is evidence of recent slides of rock and organic matter."

An engineering firm had conducted a similar review of the walkway three years ago, but this document is now considered "aged".

Work Safe BC estimated that the cost for a new study would run anywhere from $800,000 to $2 million, making the cost for the trail upgrade much too expensive to pull off.

The province had awarded $350,000 for the trail upgrade project, with $150,000 already given to the Rotary Club for work done.

It has been a wild ride of announcements for the trail.

In November 2004, The Rotary Club of Prince Rupert originally took on this popular project and vowed to improve the trail that attracts both local and visiting walkers.

The trail had been closed several years earlier by the City of Prince Rupert after it commissioned a study to ascertain the safety of the route.

A liability concern was identified as the hillside along sections of the trail were deemed unstable, resulting in rock and tree falls.

The solution was to relocate the trail away from the hillside in high and moderate hazard areas, using the existing trail bed and concrete barriers as a catchment area and the construct ion of three bridges. Earlier this year it looked as if the safety issues on t he trail would be ironed out.

Back in April, Bulkley Valley·Stikine MLA Dennis McKay presented a cheque on behalf of the provincial government for $100,000.

At that time, a sign was erected stating that the project would be completed by June.

When the finish line was not reached, a couple of Rupertites, Boyd Cook and Dennis Deverson, raised their concerns that the project would not be finished.

After those concerns were raised, the Rotary Club announced that the project would be up for tender in November.

But the trail project never got that far. And now most of the money is going to be returned. The $27,000 paid to commence the project's original study will not be returned.

This has left the Rotary Club devastated that the plans fell through.

''At the end of the day, the Rotary Club itself will have invested four years of volunteer effort and $65,000 of project development work," the statement went on the read.

"The Rotary Club would like to thank all the various people, companies and agencies who assisted us in our attempt to complete this very complex project."

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