January 5, 2012 Update
The remaining 10 percent of the Beaufort Avenue multi-use trail was paved by HUGA's contractor in mid-December. This approximately 400-foot stretch had been left gravelled as a temporary, narrow section for the last two years. The real multi-use trail is to go away from the street, close to the edge of the rail cut. However, this construction still awaits the acquisition of the required land from CN.
Once weather permits in the spring, a 10-inch strip along the curb line will be cut out and sod inserted. The "tear-shaped" gaps in the asphalt where the four power poles had stood for over a year after trail construction in the South to Oakland section have also been cut out and paved. The "wings" of asphalt that had been installed to give trail users adequate room to get around the poles will also be cut out and replaced with sod come spring.
Paving of the temporary section means that the Greenway is finally a continuous run for cyclists, roller-bladers and skateboarders, and that they won't have to go out into the street along this stretch any longer. However, this means that their speeds along this section will be greater. As a result, safety became a concern because the trail narrows considerably and has a steep dropoff alongside it. This has necessitated the addition of a section of guard railing.
The HUGA welcome and interpretative sign was erected in the South Street parkette in early January. There is a picture of the sign and a graphic of its design on our Photos page.
This week brought the destruction of two more trees, plus a "No Parking" sign, in front of the transformer substation. Given the car parts remaining on the scene, it appears that a Subaru did the damage. A third tree opposite the bottom of Ritchie Drive, was destroyed a few months ago. Two vandalized guard rail sections have been repaired.
December 14, 2011 Update
HUGA made a presentation to the Property Committee of Saint Mary's University on November 30, 2011. This revolved around the need for a partnership with Saint Mary's that allows the multi-use trail to be developed on University land and to exit to Robie Street and/or Gorsebrook Avenue in lieu of the pedestrian bridge across the rail cut being constructed in the same year as the trail.
A short section of security railing was constructed last week along the Inglis Street/Regina Terrace gravelled section. This is a prelude to the paving of the approximately 400 feet gravelled stretch, expected any day now.
The welcome sign to be located in the South Street parkette has been produced and is ready for installation. The three holding posts have to first be re-installed after some mounting holes are drilled into the bedrock on the site.
Annual General Meeting - November 10, 2011 - President’s Report
A. Activities of Past Year
HUGA has improved the municipal property at the corner of South and Beaufort by adding access from the multi-use trail, through steps and an arched pagoda entrance. We have added a gravel footpath through the property to the sidewalk on South Street, two park benches, a picnic table and a trash bin. While the property has been thus converted into an attractive small park for trail users as well as the general community, it remains in residential zoning and theoretically is not protected from being sold for that purpose at any time.
2. Welcome Signage
We have designed, and are producing and installing a 4 by 10 foot welcome sign in the South Street parkette. The sign introduces HUGA’s new logo featuring the lady slipper wildflower which is so prevalent throughout the phase two lands, and which we hope to preserve to the greatest extent possible. The text on the sign highlights the three key themes of future interpretation signage along the trail – the history of the rail cut construction, access to the northwest arm, and the history of the original estate properties along the trail alignment. Our thanks to Councillor Uteck for providing financial assistance for our signage program.
3. Paving of Temporary Section
The 400-foot section of Beaufort Avenue between Regina Terrace and Inglis Street was intended as a temporary gravelled stretch to provide trail continuity while awaiting the construction of the multi-use trail on to-be-acquired CN land. Since the timetable for land acquisition is still uncertain, HUGA has proceeded with the temporary paving of this section to allow unimpeded access for roller blades, skateboards and wheelchairs. The security railing will be extended along the piece with a steep fall-off from the narrow sidewalk allowance.
4. Meetings with Partner Organizations
HUGA has held exploratory meetings with Saint Mary’s University regarding the construction of phase two of the multi-use trail through their lands. Also, we have met with the Port of Halifax, most recently under the auspices of our MLA, Leonard Preyra, regarding possibilities for the extension of a multi-use trail through their lands.
B. Projected Activities for Next Year
1. Official Opening
HUGA’s projects as described above have completed Phase One to our satisfaction, insofar as completion is possible in the absence of the acquisition of CN land. We therefore look forward to an official opening event in the spring.
2. Trailside Maintenance Plan
The removal of tree cover during trail construction has opened up fertile territory for the growth of noxious weeds just off the trail. The dumping of yard and construction waste on land adjacent to the trail continues. As the landowner, CN provides no management of these backlands. A HUGA initiative to maintain the backlands is required, in the form of a maintenance plan and a combination of professional and volunteer assistance.
3. Planning and Design of Phase Two
HUGA is working with an HGRM engineer on trail design. We met with Saint Mary’s University officials in late spring as a follow-up to a 2005 agreement in principle on a multi-use trail through their lands. We are awaiting the outcome of a meeting of the SMU property committee as a prelude to another meeting, to be followed by surveying and a design process.
4. Community Meeting on Phase Two Plan and Design
The intent is to call a community meeting at which a concept plan for the Roxton Road/Marlborough Woods to the Oaks/Robie Street stretch would be presented. Detailed design would follow upon community input being received.
5. Interpretative Signs
An interpretative sign is envisaged for either end of Phase One. One would be located in the South Street parkette, and tell the story of the construction of the Halifax Ocean Terminals Railway in the 1910’s. The other would be near the Marlborough Woods bridge, and give the history of the Belmont and Oaklands estates which originally occupied the entirety of the properties facing upon Phase One.
6. Construction of Portion of Phase Two
Depending upon available funding, it is hoped that some part of phase two would be constructed in 2012 – possibly to the end of Greenwood Avenue or Robie Street.
7. Promotion and Membership Campaign
HUGA’s small membership and the lack of public awareness are challenges we face in our long-term campaign to build a multi-use trail from Point Pleasant Park and the Port of Halifax to the Chain of Lakes Trail. The seemingly glacial pace of land acquisition negotiations with CN, the very high price of a pedestrian bridge over the rail cut, and the ongoing dispute over the future of the Quinpool Road bridge and its trail underpass all make for an outlook which is more challenging than that for any other trail group in HRM. These obstacles, and the consequent uncertain time frame for trail construction, make it difficult to attract long-term, committed supporters. Nevertheless, a campaign to garner wide-based community support is needed if our trail efforts are to continue.