DIGBY, NS – The province has announced funding for the municipality’s trails coordinator position in a show of support for prioritizing trails in Digby County.
The Trails and Open Spaces Coordinator position was created and funded independently by the municipality in June.
Upon learning of the funding from Digby Area Recreation Commission manager Bob Powell, they applied and were accepted, and are now receiving $20,000 from the province’s Communities, Culture and Heritage department towards the position.
“The last ten years have seen trails explode around our municipality. Now, they’re ready to move to the next level,” said Powell.
Redirecting funds for other trail initiatives
Municipality Deputy CAO Jeff Sunderland is feeling very excited about the funding that’s come through.
Sunderland confirmed the position, currently held by Jonathan Riley, was never in jeopardy, and that the municipality would have committed to funding the position alone.
This funding now means the money will be redirected elsewhere, under the Trails and Open Spaces umbrella.
“This money will stay within the Open Space reserves, to be used for general costs on future trail development, or at sites like Haines Lake, the former Department of Natural Resources site,” he said, confirming it’s a frontrunner for development.
Sunderland credits Powell for the application’s success, saying it couldn’t have happened without Powell’s help.
“He definitely pointed us in the right direction,” said Sunderland, who also expressed thanks to the province.
“Investments like this make our trails more safe and inviting, which [encourages] more Nova Scotians to enjoy the beautiful scenery [in] Digby,” said Gordon Wilson via press release.
Potential for destination creation
Powell, who regularly works with trail groups and the municipality, knows a thing or two about applying for funding.
That’s exactly how he knew about this opportunity for the municipality.
He credits their bravery for setting out solo, and feels happy their money can be redirected while still focusing on trail development.
He looks to future opportunities – which are coming sooner rather than later, he says – that will mean a package of trails to market together as a destination.
“Balancing Rock is but one example of our trails here. We have others, like the bog trail being created on Brier Island and the trails along the abandoned rail line throughout the town and municipality that can connect people with the natural beauty here,” he said.
“With just a little more work, they’ll be ready. This will help us get them there.”
See also: Jonathan Riley is back in Digby