Ski Club seeks help from municipality to maintain
Stoney Island trails
By Liz Dadson
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The Kincardine Cross Country Ski Club is seeking help from the Municipality of Kincardine to maintain the trails at the Stoney Island Conservation Area, west of Bruce County Road 23 (B-line), in Ward 2.
Club president Glen Norcliffe was at council last night (Aug. 1), requesting about $3,000 in funding for the club to purchase a compact tractor to clear trails, transport materials, and dig up dangerous stumps and boulders.
He said the club took over maintenance of Stoney Island more than 20 years ago when the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA), which owns the property, was planning to sell it.
Norcliffe said the goal is to create safe, all-season trails for a healthy community. The conservation area has five kilometres of trails for skiing and walking, and five kilometres of pathways for snowshoeing and walking dogs.
The trails are well-used, said Norcliffe, but some areas are unusable and need to be cleared for use in both winter and summer.
"We can do the work," he said. "We just need the equipment and a budget."
He said a second-hand, 10-year-old compact tractor would cost about $14,000.
This equipment would allow the club to do the following:
Norcliffe said the club also tries to build one bridge per year and is currently looking to rebuild the Sakari Bridge which is 20 years old and in bad shape.
In addition, there are sections of the trail being washed away by the Thundering Creek.
"If we had a backhoe and loader, we could clear the rocks from the trails and put them along the stream where the bank is being eroded," said Norcliffe.
The club has saved up $3,000 for the purchase of a compact tractor, said Norcliffe. A private donor has promised $2,000; the Society of Energy Professionals could contribute $3,000; the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has indicated a possible $1,500 donation; and the club is approaching the SVCA for $2,000.
"We are hoping the municipality can contribute $3,000, or persuade another party, such as the SVCA or Society of Energy Professionals, to close the gap," said Norcliffe.
There is some urgency to purchasing the tractor, he said, if trail users are to access all the trails this summer and fall.
In addition, the club will spend most of its $3,000 savings by next spring on snow clearance and renting equipment to mow the trails this fall.
"This is a very modest request compared to the sum the municipality has invested in community trails in town," said Norcliffe. "We present this request for your consideration."
"I have visited the trails with the two gentlemen from the ski club," said councillor Ron Coristine. "These are the unsung heroes of our community. It's incredible what they have done with this place. This is important. We give a substantial amount of money to the SVCA from which we should receive some for this group. They should have the proper equipment to do the work."
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie asked if there were some "in-kind" way of providing use of a tractor to help out the club. "A 10-year-old machine will need plenty of maintenance," she said.
Councillor Jacqueline Faubert suggested the project might qualify for the Community Infrastructure Fund which had just been discussed at council.
"They're not asking for a lot of money," said councillor Maureen Couture. "I'm sure we could find $3,000 in our existing funds."
"This provokes more discussion about Stoney Island, itself," said councillor Kenneth Craig. "Perhaps there needs to be some long-term discussion about the property."
"First, we need to give direction to staff to come up with some in-kind assistance through the public works and parks and recreation departments," said Eadie. "That's not that big of a deal."
Norcliffe said there could be a problem with in-kind, given that the municipality would require the snow-clearing equipment the same time as the ski club. As for maintenance, he said one of the club members would be able to maintain the tractor for use on the trails.
"We should allow the staff to bring back a report and recommendation regarding either funding the project or supporting it in-kind," said Craig.
"They need $3,000 to solve their problem," said Coristine. "Let's make sure we provide a solution that meets their needs."Council agreed to have staff bring forward a recommendation at the next meeting Aug. 8.
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Wednesday, August 01, 2012