By Jan Dean
THE Board of the Lynn Valley Trail Association met Nov. 25 to look back at one heck of a year.
During the pandemic it became clear how important the Lynn Valley Trail is to Norfolk County and its residents.
The Board was convinced that if people knew about the volunteers who maintained the trail they would be inspired to get involved.
“We were right,” says LVTA President Helen Wagenaar. “We had a membership drive a year ago and more than doubled our membership from 200 to 437 as of Oct. 31 of this year.”
The membership fee of $15 per year generates a sizable portion of the association’s income. But more than income the membership represents a pool of talent and volunteers that the association has drawn on.
The decision to remove garbage cans from the trail route was only possible because of the willingness of trail users to ‘Pack it in – Pack it out’.
Trail members make up the 10 groups of Kilometre for Community who each take on the task of cleaning up one kilometre of trail throughout spring, summer and fall.
This year saw the Finance Committee become a permanent standing committee and the creation of a skills matrix to focus recruiting efforts for Board members on specific areas of expertise.
When it was time to add some engineering and financial talent to the Board, Susan Ferguson and Mike Redden volunteered.
The LVTA even got pets involved with a campaign that was equal parts raising awareness, acknowledging the many pets that use the trail with their human companions and fundraising. The $25 cost gets an engraved Tail Waggers medallion for their collars.
The goal of the LVTA is to make the Lynn Valley Trail safe and accessible to everyone. That takes money and time.
Over the past year the LVTA invested more than $67,000 for major bridge and ramp repairs.
Currently the LVTA is in the process of installing a bike repair station at the Silver Lake end of the trail in Port Dover. As well, kilometre markers on the trail will be replaced by next spring.
Auditor Robert Johnstone reviewed the association’s books and helped to tailor an accounting protocol that better reflects where money is being invested and what monies are already allocated for future projects.
Weather permitting, six kilometres of the trail between Lynn Valley Road and Silver Lake Park will be resurfaced with limestone screenings at a cost of approximately $40,000.
The remaining section of trail from Decou Road to Ireland Road will cost significantly more because access is difficult.
The first step is to acquire an engineering report that will define what weights of vehicles and materials can safely use the bridges that are safe for walkers, runners and bikes.
Four times a year a Norfolk County contractor cuts the verge. The County also helps out with removal of fallen or dead trees.
Much of this is accomplished through collaboration with Mark Boerkamp, Supervisor, Trails and Cemeteries at Norfolk County.
To enhance trail maintenance the LVTA has contracted with Mark Gamble Excavating and Haulage to deal with individual projects.
The LVTA is currently planning fundraising initiatives.
They are also applying for a Trillium grant to help cover the cost of extensive repairs to the Rotary Bridge. That application will reflect the broad community support for the trail through membership numbers. The LVTA’s goal is to hit 500 members.
Community support was also clear in the presentation of $16,700 from 100 Women Who Care Norfolk.
LVTA president Helen Wagenaar, LVTA vice president Diane Luke and LVTA secretary Karen Davis made their pitch for a donation to the 100 Women. It was their third attempt and this time it was successful.
It was definitely the perfect ending to an afternoon AGM.
It’s also a reminder that everyone who uses the Lynn Valley Trail is indebted to the commitment of the community at every level.
There was also the reminder that Lynn Valley Trail memberships and Trail Wagger medallions make a lovely Christmas present.