Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail wants your support

By James Morgan, The Review, September 19, 2018

The Prescott-Russell Recreation Trail wants more people to support the trail. Prescott-Russell Recreation Trail Corporation Secretary Serge Joly said maintaining and increasing public support for the trail is important to make sure it can continue providing recreational opportunities to residents and visitors. About two years ago, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Council told the organization that the trail may not be able to remain open and reduced its share of funding. The trail follows a former railway line, and although the tracks are gone, VIA Rail Canada, the federally-owned passenger rail service, still owns the land, which has been leased for the trail since 2001. Joly said VIA still owns the trail property because of the long-discussed, but never implemented idea of developing a high-speed rail link in the densely populated Windsor Ontario to Quebec City corridor. If the high-speed plan ever went ahead, the trail land could end up as part of a line connecting Ottawa to Montreal.

“They want to keep their options open in case,” Joly said about the railway still owning the land. The current 10-year lease is up for renewal in 2020 and Joly said it’s also possible that UCPR could set conditions in negotiating a new lease that may not be suitable to VIA and could place the future of the trail into question. UCPR currently hires a contractor to mow grass and weeds along the trail.

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