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Rossland’s Centennial Trail to go ungroomed indefinitely

City looks to purchase suitable machine for scheduled grooming of popular Rossland trail this winter
Rossland snow enthusiasts Jay and Amy Houle enjoyed sliding and skiing on the ever-popular Centennial Trail this past Sunday. The city is looking to get the go ahead for a groomer, but has been unable to groom the trail this winter. The 40-cm of snow that fell last month caused access issues, but reports are that the trail has been packed down and is now accessible for all users. Photo: Jim Bailey

The City of Rossland will not be grooming Centennial Trail until they are able to find a machine and a plan that fits council’s requirements.

According to the staff report prepared by Scott Lamont, public works manager, the city formerly hired an independent contractor to take care of the trails, but the person has retired. The City investigated options on renting the equipment and explored other partnerships with winter trail grooming businesses and societies but received no interest.

Staff provided four options for council to consider at its meeting, Nov. 21, to purchase trail grooming equipment for the popular Centennial Trail for the winter.

“The Centennial Trail grooming program is an important amenity for the community,” read the staff report. ” The purchasing of required equipment to handle the grooming would be a necessary asset investment in order for the City to bring the grooming of Centennial Trail into internal operations.”

Option 1 entailed a $30,000 investment for the purchase of the 2009 Sherpa Sled and the 2022 Ginzu track setter. It also requires an additional $3,000 annually to maintain equipment, and while it could be acquired immediately, it came with no warranty.

Coun. Maya Provencal supported spending the money for the Sherpa Sled and track setter.

“I think that having this trail is really important. It’s one of the only accessible trails in town,” said Provencal. “I know endless amounts of people that commute to Red on that trail, and I think it’s worth $30,000.”

Option 2 would cost about $70,000 for the purchase of a Side by Side and a groomer, but would entail delays subject to pricing and availability. There is also an additional cost of about $6,000 annually to maintain equipment.

Option 3 was deemed off the table, as no one showed interest in the contract to groom the trail network.

Option 4 proposed $14,000 for the purchase of a Trail Tamer, and an additional $1,400 for annual maintenance, depending on pricing and availability.

“We really don’t have a lot of information on how much or how often this (grooming) was done,” said CAO Bryan Teasdale.

“This is a classic example of we have an existing service that we’ve been able to do fairly cheaply, but when contractors or volunteers dry up, then our community’s needs may or may not be served,” added Teasdale. “We apologize this came to council so fast, but this is a day in the life of city operations.”

Staff fielded questions from council regarding its capital budget and recommendation of the options.

Based on his years of experience grooming at Black Jack, Mayor Andy Morel suggested a less expensive tact in an alternative snow machine.

In the end, council voted to defer the decision pending further information and agreement on a more suitable machine to purchase.

Jim Bailey

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