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Significant upgrades planned for Millennium Trail

The City of Cold Lake says they will direct over $725,000 in federal funding to enhance their trail network, including repairs and improvements to the Millennium Trail.

City officials say they qualify for nearly $1 million through the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Public Transit stream, which is available only to municipalities that have public transit. Considering the challenges caused by the pandemic, the federal and provincial governments are allowing eligible communities to transfer some or all of the funding to a COVID-19 Resilience Stream.

Under the ICIP stream, municipalities can use the money for active transportation infrastructure, including parks, trails, bike lanes and multi-use paths using an 80/20 funding formula (80% federal, 20% municipal). Last month, City Council voted to direct the majority of the available funds to the COVID-19 Resilience stream and provide funding for Cold Lake’s trail system.

“One of the requirements is the money has to be spent by December of 2021, so what we’re going to do is set aside approximately $260,000 for a future transit bus,” said Mayor Craig Copeland. “The rest of the money will go straight into our trail system, to repair and expand our walking and cycling trails in Cold Lake.”

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Under the 80/20 formula, the federal government will provide approximately $726,000 in funding, while the City will contribute approximately $181,000 towards trail enhancements.

“The Millennium Trail is very well used and some sections are over 20 years old now. It’s becoming worn and needs re-surfacing, so much of this money will be used to refurbish the trail for our residents,” said Mayor Copeland. “We’re also looking to expand the existing trail network to a few subdivisions along English Bay Road and 69 Avenue near École Voyageur.”

The residual federal funding in the ICIP Public Transit stream ($260,000) will pay for up to 40% of an additional accessible public transit bus, which costs approximately $650,000.

City Council says they will discuss trail maintenance and expansion during budget deliberations later this year, to determine if additional funding will be used to further enhance the trail system.

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