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Groutage Avenue pathway project back on Trail’s radar

The City of Trail is resuming plans for a pathway to connect two parks, along with associated infrastructure upgrades.

Council has given staff the go-ahead to apply to the Columbia Basin Trust climate resilience fund for the Groutage Avenue/Esplanade project, which will connect Jubilee and Rotary parks. It was tendered in 2019 but shelved before work began in 2020 as the city tried to cut costs due to COVID.

Parks and recreation director Trisha Davison explains that in 2021 the Butler Park light pole project became a priority and the Trust let them use money from a grant originally intended for the Groutage project.

However, that means having to find funds again for the pathway, which is part of the active transportation network the city is developing. An application is being submitted for a maximum of $500,000.

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“We’ve called it the missing link that would connect the walkway over the bridge and into East Trail,” Davison says. The path would be a combination of the existing Groutage Avenue corridor, where an old sidewalk exists, and a new path along the river.

In addition to the pathway itself she says they will use the opportunity to replace sewer and waterlines thought to be 75 to 80 years old. Other components include improved lightning, benches, safer access to the riverbank, and new gathering spaces and viewpoints. Access to Jubilee Park will also be improved. Davison says while there is a ramp at one end, it has been compromised by tree roots and age.

Davison further envisions interpretive signage commemorating the Doukhobor history of Groutage Avenue, formerly known as the Verigin Subdivision. The former Doukhobor communal home still stands, although it is vacant, along with a former bathhouse and several homes and apartment buildings constructed by Lazareff and Co., a prolific Doukhobor-led company.

Davison called the project “more than shelf-ready” as all of the design work is done. However, it’s expected to be a lot more expensive than before.

The low bid in 2019 was $1.2 million for both above and below ground work, but due to “significant inflationary costs,” they are recommending the budget be increased to $1.75 million, including a 20 per cent contingency.

If the Trust approves its contribution, the city will still have to pick up the rest of the tab.

The former Doukhobor communal house on Groutage Avenue in Trail. (Greg Nesteroff/Vista Radio)
The Doukhobor communal home in Trail, and adjacent bathhouse, tennis courts, and a Doukhobor-owned rooming house are seen on Groutage Avenue (then known as Verigin Avenue) in the 1920s. (Hughes Bros photo/Greg Nesteroff collection)
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