The hard-fought completion of the K&P Trail to the junction with the Trans Canada Trail in Sharbot Lake, is being funded by Frontenac County this year.
As part of the its 2019 budget deliberations, County Council agreed to spend up to $250,000 to complete the last section of trail, a stretch between Bradshaw Road, north of Tichborne, and St. Georges Lake. The trail is already complete between St. Georges Lake and the trailhead just south of Sharbot Lake, where it meets the Trans Canada Trail.
Frontenac County Manager for Economic Development, Richard Allen, told Council that the final section includes a swamp (see photo) a watercourse, and must be re-routed around 2 existing houses as well.
“$250,000 will cover the cost for sure, hopefully it will be less,” he said.
It was not that difficult to convince council that the trail must be completed.
“We’ve been working on this for years, and we’ve spent millions. We would look pretty foolish if we didn’t get it done,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal from South Frontenac.
“I sat on the first trail committee. That was over 10 years ago,” said Mayor Dennis Doyle from Frontenac Islands.
In terms of funding the final section, Richard Allen pointed to a slide that included bars, of various lengths, marking all of the granting programs that the county has tapped in order to build out the trail until now, over $3.75 million worth. A lot of that money came from various granting programs from the federal and provincial governments and foundations, including trail grants and others. There were x’s over all of the bars on the graph because the programs have all either been discontinued or the trail is no longer an eligible project for them.
The largest amount of money, over $1.7 million, came from the county share of federal gas tax rebate funds. A few years ago, however, Council decided to give its share of gas tax monies to the Frontenac townships for their own infrastructure needs.
Allen suggested that Council consider borrowing to finance the last section of trail construction.
“That way it will not have a huge impact on taxes in a single year,” he said.
This year the money will be taken from reserve funds to cover the construction, with a view towards securing a loan from Infrastructure Ontario once the final costs are known.
The completion of this section of the K&P Trail will result in a trail that runs from Lake Ontario in Kingston all the way up to Sharbot Lake. The completion of this part of the K&P Trail results in the inclusion of two major Frontenac sections in the national trail system, which would otherwise have bypassed most of Frontenac County by following Hwy 7 into Lanark County.
The K&P Trail section between Harrowsmith and Sharbot Lake will become part of The Great Trail (AKA the Trans Canada Trail). It will also bring the bulk of the Cataraqui Trail, the entire run between Harrowsmith and Smiths Falls, into the Great Trail family.
Further trail projects, including projects on Wolfe and Howe Islands, as well as the northern section of the K&P through Central and North Frontenac and into Lanark County and beyond, are next on the agenda for Frontenac County.
Central Frontenac Township owns the K&P trail between Sharbot Lake and the North Frontenac border, where the trail has gone into private hands until just north of Snow Road. The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority owns the trail from Snow Road to the border with Lanark County.