Minister of Energy and Mines Derek Mombourquette announced a provincial boost of $100,000 for the Town of Port Hawkesbury’s AT trail through the department’s Connect2 clean transportation grant program on September 24.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The now almost completed active transportation (AT) trail, recently received a provincial boost in the tune of $100,000 through the province’s Connect2 stream of the Low Carbon Communities program.

Minister of Energy and Mines Derek Mombourquette made the announcement September 24, on the province’s investment in the Town of Port Hawkesbury’s 1.6 kilometre off-road connector trail from Pitt Street to the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Strait Area Campus on Reeves Street.

The investment will cover phase one of the town’s Destination Reeves Street project, a three-year project that will also include a network of interconnecting bicycle systems, streetscape improvements and improved access between Reeves Street and the commercial district.

“There has been a great committee that has been working on this for a long time, they’ve been back-and-forth with my staff, this is something I was brought into the last few months,” Mombourquette said. “There’s similar projects happening around the island right now, CBU is another example of something similar, I think this is wonderful.”

Mombourquette highlighted the AT trail is providing the residents of the town, along with NSCC students and staff an accessible route to town where they feel safe.

“I come through here almost weekly so, you see the development, you see the work that’s going on and that’s fantastic,” he said. “Once this is all complete, once people really catch on what we’re doing, I think you’re going to see the entire community using it, these projects are very important for community building assets.”

Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, the town’s mayor, said the complete street project is transformative because, the town will have a main street built for people and all the ways they move; a vibrant and safe urban street where people can live, work, study, shop and play.

“Right now we’re on year two – what you see now is NSTIR is doing their micro planning, probably in the next week or so, you’ll see the new line paintings on the road for the road diet pilot,” she told reporters. “The majority of the AT lane is now installed, there will be a plan to put asphalt on some of that trail, it won’t be completed this year, it’ll be partially completed and the remainder will be done in the third phase of the project.”

Chisholm-Beaton said when you look at growing a community; part of that puzzle piece is how do you create a community that’s more walkable – they want to be user-friendly, more accessible, and they want a safer street for many, many decades.

“Traditionally streets are built for vehicles, but the complete street project begs you to think about that in terms of people, its people centered development, we recreated and revitalized Reeves Street for people in all the ways they move,” she said. “This is the first complete street project for the town and the province. We’re hoping to be able to lead the charge, punch above our weight class, and serve as an example across the province on how you can take your main street and revitalize it in a way that creates a more welcoming space for everyone.”

The creation of the AT trail from Pitt Street to NSCC is a complete game changer, as the town was able to address a 30-year problem, which was highlighted by students having to trudge up the side of the road, playing chicken with oncoming pulp trucks on a daily basis.