Surface to be completed this fall
By Hunter Cresswell
Chelsea is trying to get the surface of the Community Trail along the old rail line just right, but the process hasn’t been without some hiccups.
Two sections of the trail have been surfaced so far, about 100 metres near the Farm Point Community Centre and between Chemin Church and Rue Wallace, but issues have arisen with both, Ward 3 councillor and municipal community trail committee chair Greg McGuire noted.
The Farm Point section was surfaced with stone dust in late 2018 and is quite hard and appropriate for biking, but McGuire said that may encourage cyclists to dangerously speed too fast along a trail designed for multiple community-uses, including relaxed strolls with pets or children.
The other section in New Chelsea between Church and Wallace has the opposite problem. McGuire described it as being too soft.
Learning from the Farm Point section being too hard, the municipality sought a surfacing material that would be more suited to the trail’s multi-use purpose, while still blending in with the rustic character of the community. That section was surfaced last year with small gravel and touched up with more gravel in the spring, McGuire explained.
“So we have one that’s too hard and one too soft. We’re doing the Goldilocks here,” he said about wanting, just like the fairytale character, something just right.
“The objective is for [the trail] to be a comfortable ride for everyone, but we’re not catering to the hardcore road bikers,” McGuire clarified later during a phone conversation.
Municipal staff and trail committee members have been working with the National Capital Commission and Vélo Québec to see what type of trail surfacing works best in this area and Construction Edelweiss, which is providing the material from its quarry, in order to get the golden ratio of stone dust and fines “to make [the trail] a little more stable and smooth — a comfortable surface,” McGuire said.
McGuire said the trail committee recommended that the council approve the rest of the trail being first surfaced with the gravel seen between Wallace and Church and then with a thin layer of stone dust spread on top.
McGuire said the council already awarded a $900,000 or so contract to surface the rest of the trail with the gravel mix and said it must next discuss how the work to lay the recommended stone dust layer on top of the gravel will be conducted. He added that it can be done internally by the municipality, added into the existing surfacing contract or awarded through another contract.
Trail surfacing work along the rest of the trail – save for about 500 metres just north of where the trail crosses Chemin Loretta (there, the municipality is still working out how to circumnavigate a problematic landslide) – will start this month and take between six to nine weeks, McGuire said.