6 November 2017
For immediate release
Beautiful Eastern Association of Snowmobile Trails (B.E.A.S.T.) Secures $120,000 Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) / Ontario Tourism Infrastructure Grant, With Support of Lanark County, for Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) Bridge Improvements in Carleton Place
Carleton Place, ON., Nov 2017
Beautiful Eastern Association of Snowmobile Trails (B.E.A.S.T.) snowmobile club made a commitment to secure funding for OVRT bridge development and they came through with a $120,000 OFSC / Ontario Tourism Grant to help Lanark County enhance two key bridges in Carleton Place. Use of the OVRT is a high priority for the B.E.A.S.T to provide a safer crossing over the Mississippi River.
The Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) is a combined vision of the counties of Lanark, Renfrew, and the Township of Papineau-Cameron, to create a multi-use recreational trail, which has been made possible by purchasing the retired 296km CPR rail corridor from Smiths Falls to Mattawa. The Lanark County portion extends from Smiths Falls to Arnprior.
In partnership with Lanark County, B.E.A.S.T. was successful in securing a major OFSC / Ontario Tourism grant where Lanark County covered the first 15% of the project and the B.E.A.S.T. secured the remaining 85% through the grant. This bridge project focuses on upgrading the Mill Street bridge and the Mississippi River bridge, both in Carleton Place to include installation of new weathered steel railings, modification of existing expansion joints to provide a smooth surface, removal of a catwalk, and install approach guiderails. A secondary benefit of this grant is that it frees up Lanark County funds to be used on other portions of the trail.
With community support, B.E.A.S.T. has championed the long-term use by snowmobile clubs as part of this important multi-use trail and obtained full support from Lanark County, the Town of Carleton Place, and the Townships of Beckwith and Montague. “The Town of Carleton, the Carleton Place Downtown Business Improvement Area, Lanark County, and Beckwith Township all cite that opening these bridges will generate significant four-season economic activity within the communities connected by the trail,” said Darin McRae, B.E.A.S.T. President.
Bruce Robinson, Governor for Upper Canada Snowmobile Region (Eastern Ontario) commented, “that the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs was pleased to support this worthwhile project since the multi-use trail will enhance the economic activity, especially in the winter, when other sources of tourism dollars are not as plentiful. The OFSC’s number one priority is offering a safe and reliable trail to our riders. The two most problematic places for snowmobiles to travel are along roadways and over ice. This new trail helps eliminate both of these options which makes the funds spent here a great investment.”
Darin McRae, alongside the West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association President (W.C.S.T.A.), Scott Hamilton, attended many OVRT public information meetings and made presentations to County, Townships and Town Council meetings outlining the case for inclusion of snowmobiles and the benefits the snowmobile club can provide in maintaining the trail in the winter.
BEAST Southwest Trail Director, Ian Edwards, explained that: “this new trail will create many other tourism opportunities, continue to establish a multi-use recreational trail loop within the County, and provide a safe public water crossing for summer and winter recreational enthusiasts within Carleton Place.”
Lanark County and The Town of Carleton Place are currently grading and preparing the trail within town limits and with the bridge work will be completed this fall. This will mean that B.E.A.S.T. will be able to extend their BEAST 311 trail, along the OVRT corridor, from 10th line of Beckwith, through Carleton Place and over the Mill St. bridge and the 4 span bridge crossing the Mississippi River, continuing to the 8th line of Ramsay, to reach another local trail, the BEAST 202, just North of Carleton Place.
It is important to note that the OVRT north of the 8th line Ramsay will not be used this year, as access through Almonte is not possible due to the bridges in that section not being fitted with appropriate safety measures. In addition, speed limits within the Town of Carleton Place will be 20 km/hr (normal for residential areas) and there will be time of day limitations imposed. Riders will heed the reduced speed limit and exercise caution at all road crossings. The trail through town will allow access to businesses by foot or marked access side trails.
B.E.A.S.T extends a huge thank-you to the councils of Montague Township, Beckwith Township, the Town of Carleton Place, and Lanark County who all support the OVRT as a multi-use trail.
B.E.A.S.T. is a member club of the OFSC with the main focus to develop and maintain a network of snowmobile trails in the City of Ottawa and Lanark County including areas of Stittsville, Richmond, Almonte, Barrhaven, Carleton Place, Munster Hamlet, Lanark, Ashton, Smith Falls, and White Lake. The club has a strong focus on protecting the environment, enhancing tourism, working with police agencies, and prompting safety and responsible operation in the use of snowmobiles. The club manages over 330 kms of trails, has over 1000 members, operates three industrial groomers, operators an industrial brushing tractor – all with volunteers based on a provincial wide user-pay system.