Town of Antigonish to create AT trail running through centre of town

ANTIGONISH: The Town of Antigonish will soon be home to an Active Transportation (AT) trail.

During their regular monthly council meeting on April 19, councillors passed a motion 5-2 to fund $1.1 million of the 2.6 kilometre corridor.

Following the meeting, Mayor Laurie Boucher told The Reporter the approximately $4 million project will create a spine for active transportation for all ages and all mobilities.

“It will start at West Street coming in going along StFX, along St. Ninians Street,” Boucher said. “And then it’ll cross Church Street and go through the woods up behind Columbus Field and then out to Main Street again.”

In the last four years, the town has done a significant amount of community consultation, and according to the mayor, active transportation has really come up to the forefront as far as priorities from the community.

“Basically every time we did have a public consultation, or met with the public, bike lanes would come up, or the ability to get from one end of town to the other safely,” Boucher said. “Our staff have been working on this for quite a while, this opportunity came up with the province and the feds, we’re just very fortunate that our project fits the template to the grant.”

The Town of Antigonish applied to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program for funding as the project is contingent on provincial and federal support to cover the remaining expenses.

Boucher advised the trail portion, which is considered the “spine” of the project, the town intends to build off of regularly.

“Not only does it go through the centre of town, but it also connects on to the highway, so it would be part of the Blue Route as well,” she said. “We don’t expect a steady trail of bikers coming into Antigonish, but we do know there is an ecotourism part of it as well.”

To have Antigonish’s name on the map as a biking community that invites more people off the highway, Boucher indicated that’s always a good thing.

Councillors Willie Cormier and Sean Cameron were the two votes against the project.

“One of the concerns was the amount,” Boucher advised. “The other concern was more the route, he didn’t agree with the route and would have liked more connectivity to neighbourhood to neighbourhood.”

While the timeline is based on when or if the town receives support from the provincial or federal government, planning for the project will continue into early 2022, with a completion date goal in 2025.