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Millennium Trail upgrades should be completed this year

Plans to complete upgrades to Prince Edward County’s Millennium Trail this year are well under way with specific interest on how to move through two significant wetlands.

Barry Davidson, chair of the Trails Improvement Ad-Hoc Committee, updated councillors at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, on work completed last year, and plans for 2019.

Davidson lead volunteers through more than 300 hours last summer and fall to complete 17.1 kms of trails between Highway 33 east of Wellington, east to County Road 49. He was also responsible for leading the 11km of work completed in 2012-2015 by the Wellington Rotary Club from the Danforth Road to Highway 33, east of Wellington.

The 46 km multi-use trail stretches from Carrying Place at County Road 64 to Picton at County Road 49, also passing through Consecon, Wellington, and Bloomfield. It is converted from an abandoned Canadian National Railway line.

The project scope includes grading and compacting the trail, limestone screening spread and graded to create an ideal surface for multiple trail uses.

“The whole project is going to be completed by the end of this year,” said Davidson. “We’ll get started with the easy part from Hillier to Carrying Place which is pretty much straight trail; but between now and the fall we have to decided what to do in the wetlands.”

Whatever decisions are made, work wouldn’t take place until fall, he said, after nesting and activity of wildlife is at its lowest.

“We are evaluating alternatives and are meeting with Quinte Conservation to find out what we could do in terms of upgrading the 2km of trail through the wetlands” – part of which is flooded in spring; another under water most of the time.

The County secured a $15,000 grant from TD Friends of the Environment Fund to be used specifically toward the work at the wetlands.

Davidson also noted this year’s work includes upgrades to as many as seven possible launch points to the trail which could include gravel parking areas.

Signage is also underway for safety, trail etiquette, kilometre markers and way-finding. Sales of signs at $1,000 each were a primary source of fundraising income.

Barry Davidson leading volunteers in how to prune trees. -Millennium Trail photoa

In 2017 the PEC Trails community group raised $123,000 toward plans for rehabilitation of the trail. The municipality committed $370,000 over three years and there was also an $118,000 Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Grant. The 2019 rehabilitation budget has $434,075. Funds left over, Davidson said, could go toward touching up the first upgrade area in Wellington.

Discussions will also be held about how to maintain the trail in years to come.

He reminded new councillors the 2018 committee cost per kilometre came in at $10,930.09 versus the lowest tender price of $26,760 per kilometre, plus HST. The tender had been dismissed by council and the trail committee due to much higher than anticipated costs. An ad-hoc committee was formed, composed of four members of the PEC Trail Committee, one from the snowmobile club and two staff.

Concerns were also brought forward about mechanical brushing well off the trail.

Garret Osborne, Project Manager, noted the Millennium Trail is not just for recreation purposes, but is a utility corridor for water mains, transmission lines, fibre and cable lines.

Photo courtesy Pedego Electric Bikes store, right across from the Millennium Trail, in Bloomfield.

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  1. Jim says:

    4 wheelers have as much right on that trail as you do.I am sure some ATV owners have helped on the trail.

  2. MI says:

    How about everyone stop being haters. Everyone has the right to an opinion, but respect the opinions of others as well. There are stupid people in cars, trucks, boats, bicycles, skateboards, and as pedestrians. The local snowmobile club has a long history and investment in the Millenium Trail and I know many want them banned as well. Please, everyone be more tolerant and considerate of each others interests. Multi use trails exist and perform well throughout Ontario. There is no reason they cannot here.

  3. Jim Moorebaum says:

    I agree Dave- I walk the trails as well and noisy ATV’s and snarling dirt bikes are not a nice mix. Ban them! I must also say I find the high power transmission lines over head a possible radiation health imposition and detracts from a pleasant walk in the country. Thanks to all the volunteers for working on the trails- it is not easy work. cheers

  4. Dave Nixon says:

    I walk my dog on a part of the trail on a daily basis. Yesterday I had to pull over to let 3 big bruisers on 3 monstrous 4-wheelers pass me (I thought “trucks” were supposed to use the roads). Later in the day, I saw 4-5 “characters” on dirt bikes and other assorted toys travelling at warp speed. I didn’t see any other pedestrians or any bicycles. I did notice a couple of places where vandals (4-wheelers/dirt bikes) have damaged the trail. All too often the Millennium Trail is just a defacto drag strip for big boys and their big, noisy, polluting toys.

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