Paving the way

City considers a walking trail system



Iqaluit is one step closer to getting walking trails throughout the city.

The trails are part of a beautification plan for Iqaluit.

At this week’s city council meeting, the trails’ designer unveiled a map of the possible routes.

In the downtown core, trails would cater to people walking to their workplace or to stores and businesses in the area. Another set of trails, located on the tundra, are directed at hikers who want to head to Tarr Inlet, Crazy Lake and to the Sylvia Grinnell river.

John Laird, who is working on the walking trails project, wants to see Iqaluit follow in the footstep of other capital cities, like Yellowknife, that have created nature trails and routes for pedestrians.

“We have a great opportunity here to develop a wonderful outdoor recreation system,” Laird told city councilors.

Earlier this year, Laird consulted with Iqaluit residents to find out which routes they most often use when walking in town and asked them for suggestions on how to develop the trail system.

The council’s planning committee has set aside land specifically for parks and a trail system.

One area of land runs from the downtown core through Happy Valley and Tundra Valley along the water front and eventually connects to Apex.

Another corridor runs from the power plant, past the hospital and Brown building down to the beach. A third trail runs along the beach area out to Sylvia Grinnell Park and to the adjacent peninsula near the causeway, which is a popular camping ground.

Laird said the proposed trails could be placed along these three routes.

Actual trails wouldn’t necessarily have to be built. On the tundra, for example, walking trails would merely be marked by signs. In the downtown, however, gravel trails would be laid down. Wooden bridges and some boardwalks might be installed in the wetter areas.

Laird is keen on protecting the open, “green” spaces of land. He said with the growth of Iqaluit, the open spaces are slowly being nibbled away by new houses and buildings.

In Yellowknife, for example, city officials have already deemed the areas around its lakes and small streams as recreational land. In Ottawa, there’s a green-belt system that runs throughout the entire city. Laird envisions Iqaluit protecting its land in a similar way.

Following Laird’s presentation, the city council voted to send his map of the proposed routes to the council’s planning committee to review.

The council may plan another public consultation to give residents a chance to see the map and voice any suggestions or concerns they have. The council has budgeted $50,000 to do further work on the project during 2002.

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