Husky Energy is putting $350,000 dollars toward the Rotary Trail in Prince Albert, to fund the final portion of the walkway as part of a new three-year agreement with the City.
Mayor Greg Dionne announced the new partnership Monday at a Rotary Club meeting. The last 1.7 kilometres of trail – from Pineview Terrace near the Victoria Hospital to the Saskatchewan Penitentiary – will be funded by Husky Energy as part of a new “community enhancement” initiative.
The City says the Rotary Trail was chosen as one of the first projects because of the role it played during the 2016 water crisis caused when oil from a Husky pipeline spilled into the North Saskatchewan River.
A temporary water line had to be installed to pipe water from outside the city along parts of the Rotary Trail following the spill. Husky energy later paid $5 million to cover costs associated with the spill, but Dionne said many people were inconvenienced by the incident, including residents and families who couldn’t use spray parks or the local pool for the entire summer.
“We do believe that they owe us one more step, and that’s this step,” Dionne said. “The direct cost was everything that they paid for today, the pumps and stuff; the indirect costs was paying the salary of the kids that didn’t have their jobs; and then the community costs is what we’re talking about today.”
Arsene Billo with the Rotary Trail committee said Monday’s announcement was a welcome one and will cap off some 18 years of fundraising efforts for the trail. What was initially supposed to be a five-year project took much longer and the committee is happy to see it come full circle.
He said the trail has made many parts of the city more accessible and is well used across Prince Albert.
“You see people with strollers, we see people with walkers and anything in between, so everybody is making good use of it,” Billo added. “It’s about time.”
Billo said members with the Rotary Club have talked about a trail that connects the city to Little Red River Park across the river as a possible next fundraising project.
“We don’t have a way to get to Little Red other than by car, and it would be nice to go there by bike or walking … we certainly would like to consider that as a future project,” Billo said.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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