The Wagon Road is a popular trail even in winter. The City of Rossland is working to upgrade and extend the trail as part of the South Kootenay Green Link Trail that will ultimately connect Rossland and Fruitvale. Photo: Jim Bailey.

The Wagon Road is a popular trail even in winter. The City of Rossland is working to upgrade and extend the trail as part of the South Kootenay Green Link Trail that will ultimately connect Rossland and Fruitvale. Photo: Jim Bailey.

Rossland forges ahead with Green Link Trail

Rossland is laying ground for start up of South Kootenay Green Link Trail

The City of Rossland is looking to kick start the South Kootenay Green Link Trail.

Rossland council applied for the COVID Virus Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) and, at council on Jan. 18, committed $10,000 to the project.

“That’s a really exciting one actually,” said Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore. “We put in a grant for that program, and it’s meant to be a commuter route that will go all the way, eventually, from Rossland to Fruitvale.”

Phase 1 of the plan is the construction of a 10.1-km eco-friendly, off-highway commuter route that connects Rossland, Warfield, and Trail.

The first stage will see upgrades to the rough Wagon Road from Esling Drive to Redstone Drive so the trail can accommodate cyclists and commuter style/electric bikes, while creating an off-highway connection of the Redstone neighbourhood and downtown Rossland. The updated trail will also provide a scenic path for walkers and joggers.

“We’re starting small, just the section that starts in Rossland and we’re putting up $10,000 of our own money from our Climate Reserve Fund to go to this grant.”

Wagon Rd.

The federal and B.C. governments committed up to $80.3 million towards CVRIS to support community projects across the province. Each municipality is allowed to submit one application before Jan. 27, with the grant covering up to 100 per cent of project expenses, 80 per cent from the federal government and 20 per cent from provincial coffers.

The motion approved at council was to include funds from the Climate Reserve Fund.

“Although the grant is potentially 100 per cent funded, it shows commitment to the project if there are other city funds also allocated to the project,” manager of planning and development Stacey Lightbourne wrote in her report to council. “Staff suggests allocating $10,000 from the Climate Reserve Fund to this project as leverage funding.”

Rossland city staff is working with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary to further identify and develop the route, as well as private partners to implement improvement plans and maintenance agreements for the remainder of the trail.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while,” said Moore. “I have a call scheduled with local stakeholders, not just governments, people who are interested in seeing this go forward, and there have been conversations with some of the bigger employers like Teck and the hospital to try and get some enthusiasm for this.

“Because making a commuter trail makes for healthier employees and reduces our carbon footprint.”

The initiative is another step for Rossland to reach its goal of 100 per cent renewables by 2050 and advances its strategic planning goals.

“It all ties in, we’re all trying to paddle the canoe in the same direction,” added Moore.

CVRIS supports projects that improve infrastructure, particularly those that prevent spread of COVID-19, develop alternative and active transportation networks, and complete disaster mitigation and adaptation transportation networks.

Rossland also received support from community groups like the Le Roi Community Foundation that provided funds for signage for the South Kootenay Green Link Trail.

Read: Rossland commits to renewable energy plan

Read: Rossland seeks clarification on ‘Locals only’ messaging

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