N E W S & U P D A T E S
Wednesday. August 5th, 1998
of the Grand Trunk Trail is finished!
I was going to wait another week to write one of my sporadic GTT updates but I couldn't wait to send out kudos and rejoice. Judging from the number of people who have visited the site I can only assume that you all know by now. Phase One of the Grand Trunk Trail is finished! At 9:25 pm July 29/98 the last plank was fastened down.
My sources tell me that the first citizen to cross the completed deck was Edna Robertson. She had been on the Bridge Wednesday evening just as the last screw was drilled into place. She stepped over to the cement deck making herself the first local to cross, a couple from Georgia are the first "internationals" to cross and Dave Ainslie claims to be the first person to cross on roller blades. I know there is the first bicycle, first stroller and first canine. Regardless of one's position on the crossing list, go up and check the Bridge out. The view is everything we had hoped it would be and more. The weather has co-operated beautifully to give us fresh morning views, brilliantly sunny afternoons and sunsets worthy of those boasted by our predecessor, the Menetsetung Bridge in Goderich on Ontario's West Coast.
This perfectly timed completion of Phase One is due to the dedication of the St. Marys Kinsmen Club. It was calculated that 600 man-hours were spent laying the deck on the Sarnia Bridge. At a conservative $15/hour, the Kinsmen have made a donation of $9,000 in labour. That is over and above their other contributions of money. The next installation they can take credit for is that of the lamp fixtures that will light the Bridge. The St. Marys PUC will do the technical work; the Kinsmen bought the lamps.
The Kinettes have made a second donation to the Grand Trunk Trail. Their $2,001 has made it possible for the Fundraising committee to tell the Hospital Foundation that the $10,000 challenge has been met.
The contributions that have been made by the members of this community show that the "spirit of the small town" exists here in spades. A local woman told me that, if we're going to have a fundraising bake sale, she'll bake several pies for us; another person is buying a plaque in honour of a memorable time at a private garden and house tour. People seem to want to find any excuse to make their contribution to the Trail. Excuses are often seen as negative things but, in this case, find as many excuses as you can!
We are beginning to sort out the names of those who donated money for plaques. You might receive a call from a committee member to check on some detail like spelling of a name. We want to eliminate all errors when it comes to acknowledging our donors.
In the near future, signs will be posted at the access points (Thames Road, Ingersoll, Salina, Wellington and James Streets) that will indicate that NO MOTORISED VEHICLES will be allowed on the Trail. The reason for this designation is two-fold: a) safety of pedestrians on the Trail and b) noise control for householders whose property abuts the Trail. The Trail will become part of the parks system in St. Marys. The by-laws that apply to existing parks will apply to the Grand Trunk Trail. The only exception to this by-law will be those persons who are confined to wheelchairs. Motorised wheelchairs do not pose the same problems as snowmobiles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles and therefore will not be restricted from using the Trail. On the contrary, those in wheelchairs are encouraged to make use of it.
Plaques, lighting, paving and benches. Those are the next projects on the agenda. Now that you have had an opportunity to see the great potential of this facility, the next phases will make it better.
We're well on the way now!
Reprinted from the St. Marys Journal-Argus, Wed. August 5th, 1998
Monday, August 24th, 1998
We are ahead of schedule.
The Grand Trunk Trail committee is delighted to report that we are ahead of schedule according to "Our Plan" as stated on our brochure. Phase One, the conversion of the Sarnia Bridge to a safe walkway has been completed as of August. Our target date was Fall 1998. Phase Two, the installation of lighting and paving, represents the focus of our next fundraising efforts.
We have a head start on the lighting because of the Kinsmen's money and the PUC's technical and labour support. Obviously, the lighting on the Bridge is completed. We want to light the entire Trail from Ingersoll Street in the west to James Street in the east.
Paving of part of the Trail will extend from the Ingersoll Street access to the Sarnia Bridge and the area between the two bridges. The completion of this aspect of the project will allow us to meet our accessibility goals.
We've all enjoyed what has been accomplished so far; you can help make the next phase come true.