Preparations for repairs to Jesse Lake trail begin

Users of Jesse Lake trail will have to wait at least another year before the backside of the trail will see repairs, confirmed mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski. The Town is putting together a plan to deal with the underwater section of the trail and will likely have costs and ideas together for the fall, said the mayor.

“There’s a lot of new regulations that we need to contend with,” Sobolewski explained there’s a few issues that need to be sorted before the trail can see repairs. One of which is environmental regulations and guidelines. Because the trail is in wetlands and there is a lot of fowl life that occupy Jesse Lake, any construction will have to follow guidelines put out by Environment Alberta.

On top of that there are issues with the continuous rise in water levels. Jesse Lake has seen an overall rise in its levels for the past two years and it is continuing. “We have high water again that is still causing damage,” stated the mayor.

Some concerns with the increasing water levels are if the trail is repaired, will the same issues arise in a few short years? The idea of moving the trail was briefly discussed.

Shared responsibility

Another element that needs to be considered is that the south side of the trail is on Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville land. There is a question as to whom should be responsible for the repairs and if the two municipalities, the Town & the MD, should share in the costs.

Mayor Sobolewski did confirm that the Town is working with the MD in finding a solution.

Concerns over the north side of the trail

At the April 23rd Town Council meeting, Councillor Elisa Brosseau brought up her concerns over the trail. “It’s not just the backside, the frontside of the trail is also in need of repairs.” Brosseau recalled riding her bike along the trail and having to go around some major potholes and roots coming through the trail.

The mayor agreed, “anyone who’s ridden a bike without shocks on the trail can attest we have some lumpy trails.”

Councillor Chad Colbourne stated that he’s received complaints regarding the trails condition and also noted there were a few posts on the Facebook page, Bonnyville Rant & Rave, regarding its condition. “I would like to see some action done,” stated Colbourne.

The bigger picture

Mayor Sobolewski put forth an idea to get going on the background work that is required so that when it comes time to discuss the 2020 budget Council will have a better idea of what is require, in cost and time, to repair the trail.

“We will have the [Town] administration take a look at the assets that we have, what the conditions are, and when they will need to be replaced,” the mayor explained administration has been tasked with the trail’s condition, as well as the conditions of the towers, look outs and bridges that are placed along the trail.

The list will be prioritized for council to make an informed decision, stated the mayor.

Connecting the trails

In the 2019 Budget, there is money allocated for constructing a trail that will link Jesse Lake trail to the MD’s trail that goes into Moose Lake. The construction is expected to begin in the next few months with completion this year.