The Iron Horse Trail majestic Beaver River Trestle, which fell victim to arson in 2012, is currently undertaking a major reconstruction project. The project will restore the trestle, which up until the arson served as the connector on the Iron Horse Trail to Cold Lake, as well as, into Saskatchewan on the TransCanada Trail.
On August 25th, 2015 representatives from The Iron Horse Trail, Cold Lake City Council and Council’s Municorp Committee invited local MLAs to gather at the trestle in the hopes of displaying the need for more funding. Deputy Mayor for Cold Lake, Vicky Lafabvre explains, “we’re still working on the trestle, it should be done in another two months. We had asked the MLAs within the Iron Horse District from here all the way to Smokey Lake, to see why we’re asking for money.”
Deputy Mayor Lafabvre says the group is working hard to raise the funds, “we’ve applied for grants and we’re waiting for them to come to fruition.” The group is short $750 000 and hoping for a CFEP to help with $125 000 of that amount. There group also applied for a $500 000 grant from the Province. Neither of the grants have confirmed approval at this time.
The invited representatives were Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Scott Cyr, Lac La Biche-St. Paul – Two Hills MLA Dave Hanson, and Athabasca-Sturgeon County-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette. “We wanted to have the MLAs out there so they could see for themselves,” Lafabvre explains. “When you come and you see it makes a big difference. You need extra money and you want more grants, it helps when they can see we need this to help diversify the economy with tourism.” This way the MLAs are able to see to magnitude of the damage done, says Lafabvre, “it helps when they see the actual trestle and they see what was done and to see what the men have to do there and the work that needs to be done, what they’re going through.”
The Beaver River Trestle is an important corridor to the northeast, “it’s the biggest trestle in the area,” says Lafabvre. “It’s an important part of our communities, it connects them. As well as, the snowmobile associations would like to use the trail.” Since the fire trail users have not been able to come from Saskatchewan on the TransCanada Trail or from Cold Lake without diverting from the trail, which isn’t ideal for anyone. “It’s another way of getting tourism to come in and to protect the environment, and to protect people. You get them off the roads, you don’t have bikes or skidoos, quads or horses on the roads. It’s another way to get people out to enjoy the environment and respect nature You can even go out there just to watch the jets.” To put it simply, says Lafabvre, “it’s an important part of our community.”
Lafabvre says having the MLAs on hand to ask for their support was another important part of the day, “we wanted them on hand to get their support when we ask for backing and send out letters, we want the MLAs backing.” Unfortunately, due to scheduling overlaps and car troubles Dave Hanson and Colin Piquette were unable to attend the gathering. Scott Cyr was on hand and asked the group to get a package and letter together in a timely matter so he would be able to review it. Lafabvre says Scott Cyr believed time was of the essence, “he believes the government is working on their budget right now and they were also looking at a long-term budget.”
Lafabvre says MLA Scott Cyr gave his verbal support that if the group asked for funding he would likely be able to back it, should they have they paperwork to him in time.