County applies for Rail Trail upgrades 0
The county will be applying to the federal government’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund for upgrades to the Haliburton County Rail Trail, the purchase of GIS technology and improvements to the county office building on Newcastle Street in Minden.
Councillors decided to apply for the funding at their July 25 meeting.
The Rail Trail projects include repairs to the trestle bridge at Howland Junction – the deck and some of rail ties need replacing – at a cost of approximately $275,000 plus taxes, similar renovations to the Gelert railway bridge for approximately $65,000 plus taxes and drainage improvements for $70,000 plus taxes.
The fund will pay up to 50 per cent of project costs, but priority is given to projects where one-third is requested. This is the direction the county will be taking.
The fund will provide $49 million over two years.
“It’s a small amount of money,” said Dysart et al Reeve and County Warden Murray Fearrey.
Algonquin Highlands Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen thought the Rail Trial upgrades could help council resolve some of its issues on the corridor.
“If we gave some priority to work on the Rail Trail, we might be able to resolve our concerns about the timing of the season,” Danielsen said.
While in the past the county has opened the trail up to ATVs beginning in June, this year the start date was moved up to May 15.
Minden Hills Reeve Barb Reid has been pushing for the date to be changed to May 1 to achieve consistency with the City of Kawartha Lakes, into which the trail passes at Kinmount, put there have been some concerns about having ATVs on the trail in soft, muddy conditions.
New GIS software and programming costs to enhance the county’s website would run about $25,000 (treasurer Laura Janke said a programmer might eventually be required on staff) and a new generator and elevator repairs at the county office would cost some $140,000.
The money the county would require for its two-thirds of the project would equate to a two per cent tax increase, which councillors seem to agree could be deferred to the 2014 budget.