DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: An expansion to the trail network in Uxbridge may be on the way once planned repairs to the trestle bridge in the northeast portion of the town are completed next year.
John McCutcheon, the chair of the Trails Committee made a presentation before council at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Aug. 11 to outline the action plan to restore the historic trestle bridge.
The project aims to restore the bridge to a usable state after it was closed citing unsafe conditions in July 2012.
The plan for repairs, which would carry a cost of $350,000 was outlined by Mr. McCutcheon, and will see the replacement of the existing wooden deck, guardrails brought up to current standards as well as improvements to the bridge's abutments.
According to Mr. McCutcheon, a number of community groups have pledged their support to the project including the Uxbridge Rotary Club, the Uxbridge BIA, York-Durham Heritage Railway, the township's Tourism Committee, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and Trans Canada Trail.
"This bridge is a part of the proud railway history in Uxbridge, which was once the headquarters of the Toronto-Nipissing Railroad Company," explained Mr. McCutcheon. "This project is an opportunity to expand the Trans Canada Trail in Uxbridge, right through the heart of the township. It is the spine of the trail system, connecting 215 kilometres of trails. The project will build on two of our town's strongest traits, history and trails."
The project, which Mr. McCutcheon is hopeful will begin in April or May next year, and be completed by September 2015, would see funding from several sources. As outlined by Mr. McCutcheon, $100,000 would come from the Trans Canada Trail, $60,000 from the National Trail Coalition, $50,000 in locally raised funds and the rest from a Trillium grant the group is hopeful to obtain.
Ward 1 Councilor Bev Northeast questioned how the project will attempt to curb vandalism on the bridge, which has been an issue for several years.
"We plan to use a composite wood material, which locks in place so it can't be removed," explained Trail Committee member Tom Rance. "We would also add lighting and cameras tied into the current town system to hopefully catch anyone who may seek to cause damage."
Ward 3 Councillor Pat Mikuse mentioned that she had recently received a letter from Durham MPP Granville Anderson pledging his support for the project.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the proposed plan to repair and upgrade the trestle bridge, as well as allowing the Trails Committee to seek outside funding to complete the repairs.