Trail proposal draws Woodstock council interest

by | Oct 20, 2022

Resident Jennifer Campbell’s presentation outlines formation of trail association and vision for Trans Canada and other trails

Woodstock resident Jennifer Campbell believes the town holds the potential of a great trail system offering recreation, environmental stewardship and cultural significance for residents and visitors to the area.

In a presentation to Woodstock council on Oct. 11, she proposed the formation of the Woodstock Trail Association, based on the town’s portion of the Trans Canada Trail, to take advantage of that potential.

“The Trans Canada Trail through the town of Woodstock is a hidden gem,” Campbell said to begin her presentation at the Council in Committee meeting.

After being introduced by Woodstock Tourism Director Tobi Pirie, Campbell’s 10-minute presentation offered a short history of the Trans Canada Trail system and short-term and long-term vision for the proposed trail association. The presentation drew praise from Mayor Art Slipip and council members, with the mayor noting Campbell’s presentation mirrored the town’s vision for an active trail and transportation system.

“That’s consistent with what we were moving on in terms of active transportation,” Slipp said. “There’s no problem there.”
Campbell, who lives near and uses the trail system regularly, said she gathered the basis of her proposal from research and conversation with trail users, including residents and visitors.

She outlined the historical, cultural and environmental significance of Woodstock’s portion of the Trans Canada Trail, which runs along St. John (Wolastoq) River.

“It is a peaceful oasis along the historic Wolastoq River, which was named a National Historic Site in 2011,” Campbell said.
During her presentation and in response to questions from council members, Campbell suggested immediate and future steps the proposed association, in conjunction with the town, the provincial government and other partners, could implement to enhance the experience of walkers, hikers, joggers and bikers on Woodstock trails and streets.

Deputy Mayor Amy Anderson congratulated Campbell on her research and vision, asking her for specifics regarding her short and long-term goals. Campbell responded by noting the short-term efforts would reach for the “very low-hanging fruit,” such as the placement of benches, waste cans and dog-waste receptacles along the trail system.

“The first thing is a pamphlet with trail maps, historical references and things like that,” she told council.
Campbell said longer-term goals would include installing lights and security cameras at pivotal points along the trail system.
She described one of her “lofty” long-term goals as creating a picnic area, with tables and shelter, at the old water works site in downtown Woodstock.

Coun. Trina Jones noted the national Trans Canada Trail Association and the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources, Crown Land Division, may limit specific actions on the trail system. Campbell said she had already contacted the trail association, noting it is on board. She also pointed out that the town and DNR have a working agreement to maintain the trail, which she believes can be extended and modified.

Jones, a Meduxnekeag River Association board member, noted one of its trails sits inside town limits. She said the MRA might want to be part of the Woodstock Trail Association’s big picture.
Campbell agreed the overall vision would incorporate the MRA trail, the trail along the Meduxnekeag behind NBCC Woodstock and some town streets. She outlined a vision described by former Woodstock and now Calgary resident Lori Beattie outlining the benefits of a series of trails and streets designed for bikers and walkers.

Beattie, an avid cycling and hiking enthusiast, wrote council supporting Campbell’s vision.
“She shared her perspective regarding how walking, enjoying nature and random encounters on the trail builds community and improves mental and physical health,” said Campbell.
Campbell outlined a circular path beginning and ending at the Woodstock Farm Market. She suggested the hikers or bikers could follow the trail to Bridge Street, then onto Elm Street, along other streets towards the L.P. Fisher Public Library and eventually back to the market.

She explained that walkers could take in historic buildings, Woodstock culture and other places of interest along the way.
Campbell said the proposed Woodstock Trail Association could work with other groups to develop and enhance this recreational experience. She also noted the association could take steps to protect the somewhat threatened flora and fauna of natural significance.

She said a pivotal role of the trail association would be fundraising. It could also take advantage of available grants for trail cleanup, invasive species management, tree-planting events, installing birdhouses and bat boxes, and purchasing materials and equipment such as gravel and lumber.

Campbell reminded council that her proposal is in line with Section 10 of the Woodstock Municipal Plan for parks, recreation and open spaces.

Mayor Slipp told Campbell she didn’t need council’s approval to form the Woodstock Trail Association. He added, based on the consensus of council, he will instruct CAO Andrew Garnett and Pirie to work with the association to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the division of responsibilities between the town and the organization.

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