FILE - From left to right, cross-country runners Desmond Setso and Braydon Bjur round the final corner of a 5.8 km run along Port Clements’ Sunset Park Trail on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Port Clements applies for Community Trails and Recreation Program Grant

New hope for community trail projects impacted by reallocation of Rural Dividend money

The Port Clements Village Council may have found another way to fund two community trail projects that lost out on the BC Rural Dividend Fund last year.

In August 2019, the council submitted Rural Dividend Fund applications for up to $100,000 for the Sunset Park Trail Improvement Project as well as $10,000 for the Golden Spruce Trail Extension Study.

The next month, the provincial government announced the Rural Dividend Fund money would be temporarily reallocated to assist with forest industry closures and curtailments, suspending the review of applications submitted as part of the August 2019 intake.

ALSO READ: Rural grant program will be back next year, John Horgan vows

However, according to a report to council authored by Chief Administrative Officer Ruby Decock, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has since contacted the village to confirm both of the projects are eligible for Community Trails and Recreation Program Grant funding.

In her report, Decock recommended that council agree to apply to the grant for the same funding amounts originally set out in the Rural Dividend Fund applications.

Council passed the recommended motions on March 27 at a special meeting.

ALSO READ: New trail is a hit with Port Clements families

Decock’s report said there will be no changes to the existing planned budget as a result of council’s decision, and no administrative changes except management of the associated contract and reporting.

The village had previously committed to contribute up to $25,000 toward the Sunset Park Trail Improvement Project, which would involve hiring contractors to replace six of the nine wooden footbridges along the trail, resurfacing sections that are overgrown or prone to pooling, and falling danger trees as well as doing some selective thinning where the trail crosses the Sunset Park Campground.

ALSO READ: Fallen Golden Spruce sheds its top

The proposed Golden Spruce Trail Extension Study is meant to assess the feasibility of extending the Golden Spruce Trail south along a portion of the Yakoun River and connecting it with the Sunset Park Trail. It would involve hiring a consultant to produce a report based on research and site walks.

The BC Rural Dividend Program typically provides $25 million a year to assist rural communities with a population of 25,000 or less to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies.

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