A local student presented a petition to the Town of Bonnyville recently to bring awareness that the Jesse Lake trail needs to be restored.
Brenna Heffernan, on May 25, told elected officials that for at least two years most of the Jessie Lake path, leading to the beautiful arched bridge and the bird watch towers, has been fully under water.
“We need to do something about it,” Heffernan said in here presentation. “Many people loved going for mental health breaks (especially during these Covid times), walks, runs, bird watching and nature exploration, around the trail.”
Heffernan says in the past this trail was used by families, but because of the poor condition of the trail, this is no longer possible.
“It was a beautiful place to walk your dog or go for a bike ride, students could study nature, plants and species, but with the path leading to the towers fully submerged underwater and with waters rising, nobody can access it,” Heffernan told elected officials in Tuesday’s council meeting. “Unfortunately because the town has left this issue for so long, I fear that we may not get back the beauty that was once Jesse Lake. This is something I cannot let happen. The residents of Bonnyville deserve to have a beautiful place to go and walk, especially now. I do understand that there are issues with rebuilding, mainly the disruption of bird and animal homes, but I am sure there is a way that it can be done without disturbing the bird and animal habitats.”
The Mayor of Bonnyville told Lakeland Connect that Heffernan’s presentation was impressive.
“First of all, it was phenomenal initiative by this by this young lady. I think you’re looking at a future councillor,” Mayor Gene Sobolewski said. “The problem is, that it’s on MD of Bonnyville land and that’s their jurisdiction.”
Heffernan is standing up for a trail that she says is important to residents Mental Health.
“Is more important than ever, with more people struggling. Having a place to go, walk, breath and be surrounded by nature while outside, is something we all need. To me Jessie Lake is a place that makes me feel peaceful,” Heffernan said in the meeting. “When I need a breather, it is the place I like to go to. I walk, explore, and sometimes just sit and listen. The bird tower was a place I went to often with my mom. I am sad that I can no longer go there. Please, consider this proposal to repair and revitalize the Jessie Lake trail for the people of Bonnyville.”
Heffernan says there are many things we can do to help restore the beauty of Jessie Lake, starting with something as simple as picking up garbage, but this is not enough she says.
“We will need a drainage system to drain some of the water out of the lake,” Heffernan said. “I am unsure if the Town has this in place already but I would hope and assume it does based on flooding in previous years. Because the bridge has been under water for some time, it may need some rebuilding or repairs. I do know adults pay taxes to the town and I would like to hope that some of this money could be used towards revitalizing the trails.”
Heffernan collected names of those who are in support of the Jessie Lake trails being repaired and restored and presented it to council on Tuesday.