Legacy Trail reaches into Canmore 0
The ever-popular Legacy Trail is looking to extend its reach into Canmore.
The Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Partnership has been facilitating talks between Banff, Canmore, the MD of Bighorn, Alberta Parks and Tourism, Parks Canada and Alberta Transportation and has now drawn up plans for a 3.5 kilometre expansion into Canmore.
The BCRMP's design outlines an expansion from the current east end of the trail near Harvie Heights along the south side of the Trans-Canada highway to the information centre on Bow Valley Trail.
An $80,000 grant from Alberta Parks and Tourism covered the cost of research and design for the project, which has been drawn up as a response to the positive reception of the trail.
"It was really successful, far more successful than anyone had expected," said Town of Canmore manager of engineering services Andy Esarte, who mentioned that the unexpected success of the trail prompted BCRMP to expedite their plans to expand the trail.
A current cost estimate for the completion of construction on the project has the extension priced at $2.5 million, funds that the BCRMP will be seeking from the province this fall in the hopes of having dollars approved as part of Alberta's 2013 budget.
There were a few factors affecting the decision to expand to the Bow Valley Trail info centre according to Esarte, one of which was the ease with which the trail will link up to Canmore's network of pathways. Additionally, the info centre is also slated to be the location for a seasonal stop along the upcoming Bow Valley Regional Transit's route.
"It's a nice hub for pedestrians and cyclists from Canmore, people driving and parking from outside and people looking to do one-ways with regional transit or looking to go to Banff first," said Esarte.
The location will also offer a safer place for trail users to load and unload bikes and set out on the trail.
"We want to get them off the Trans-Canada whenever possible and give them an alternative that's safer," said Esarte, noting that some users find themselves utilizing parts of the highway to reach the trail.
If the project can find proper funding from the provincial government in the coming months, BCRMP is hopeful that construction can begin in the new year, with the extension completed after 2-3 months and available for springtime users.
The trail has seen increasing usage numbers since its opening in 2010, with more than 2,000 more users taking to the trail this August versus August 2011.
"I think the use of the Legacy Trail has exceeded our expectations," said Banff National Park product development specialist Judy Glowinski.
"Right off the bat it was busy and it just continues to get more use and diverse use. There are cyclists, runners, roller-bladers, and people on skateboards. There is all sorts of different use on that trail and we're quite pleased with that."