By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The LINK Pathway project has been approved to become part of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) network.
With construction on the long-awaited LINK Pathway Project breaking ground earlier this year, 2023 has been a big year for the Link Pathway project and committee.
The TCT, is the longest trail network in the world, boasting nearly 27,000 km of operational trail to date. According to the TCT’s website, statistically four out of five Canadians live within 30 minutes of the Trail, which is built on the goal to connect people to each other and nature.
Once construction is complete, the LINK Pathway, although smaller in scale, will similarly serve as conduit for connection, offering trail users the safe access to a inter-municipal recreational corridor spanning 15km spanning from Coaldale to the City of Lethbridge and passing through the open prairies situated in Lethbridge County.
In June 2023, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Coaldale, kicking off construction for Phase 1 of the Link Pathway. Since then, the project has seen gravel and pavement going down on a 5 km stretch of the corridor between Coaldale and Highway 512.
According to a recent press release authored by Peter Casurella on behalf of the LINK Pathway Committee, “this recognition signifies the commitment to meeting TCT’s six extension principles, including a focus on safety and comfort for non-motorized users, forging stronger partnerships, and creating a trail experience representative of the best of Canadian diversity.”
Henry Doeve, Chair of the LINK Pathway Committee said the organization’s achievement and admittance to the TCT will allow for further recreational opportunities for users of the corridor.
“The addition of the LINK Pathway to the Trans Canada Trail network marks a significant milestone for our organization,” said Henry Doeve, Chair of the LINK Pathway Committee. “We are thrilled to offer residents and visitors an exceptional opportunity to connect with nature, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and explore the diverse landscapes and cultures that make Canada so unique. It also opens up so many possibilities for other communities across southern Alberta,” Doeve said in an Oct. 20 media release.
To date, the TCT network has extends from Atlantic Canada, to Northern Alberta, B.C., and th Northwest Territories. Although it is not directly linked to the broader trail network, the northern Itijjagiaq Trail, an over 150km corridor located on Baffin Island in Nunavut, is also part of the TCT.
The Link Pathway Committee’s annual general meeting (AGM) was held on Oct. 25, 2023 at the historic Norland Estate in Lethbridge County. During the AGM, several major partnership announcements were also made including the announcement of the Project’s title sponsor., MPE Engineering. The pathway, henceforth will be called the MPE Link Pathway.
Eric Dyson, transportation manager for MPE Engineering said of the partnership, “it has been amazing to work with this team on this project,” over the past three years, and added, “I am delighted to be at the AGM celebrating the naming of the MPE LINK Pathway.”
Doeve said, “on this land, very likely close by here (the Historic Norland Estate) will be a pavilion.” The three-season will be designed for events with a seating capacity of around 150 people, and be complete with a stage, and a small butlers kitchen.
This pavilion, will function as a gathering place and provide amenities nearby the pathway. Doeve unveiled the name for this Pavilion will be, “The Cor Van Raay Pavillion.”
“Cor Van Raay was very interested in this project before his passing and he was a very generous donor. He saw the vision,” Doeve added.
Although the Link Pathway hit a number of significant milestones in 2023, fundraising has remained ongoing.
To contribute or learn more about the LINK Pathway project and the different ways you can support, please visit http://www.linkpathway.org/donate