Official opening of kiosk and donor plaques at Van Horne Trail in Saint Andrews

Barb Rayner/Courier Those who attended Saturday's unveiling of the donor plaques at the head of the Van Horne Trail in Saint Andrews take a closer blok following the official part of the proceedings.

Saint Andrews – The Van Horne Trail has been described as one of the gems of the province, and a small crowd gathered at the trail head Saturday morning for the opening of the kiosk, and unveiling of the donor plaques.

The wheelchair accessible, all season trail is a project of the town’s Kiwanis Club in conjunction with the town. Club president Dave Johnston said there is a tremendous amount of support for it by both residents, and visitors alike.

Almost 100 people have shown their support, he said, by donating to the Adopt-a-Metre program, and he made special mention of the late Ellen Dalton, who was one of the main movers and shakers in getting the trail developed.

“Her name appears several times on the plaque. Different people have donated in her memory.”
The trail, said Johnson, has been a major project for the Kiwanis Club for the last four years, which has been developed in conjunction with the town who have donated the land and, hopefully, it will be expanded further.

Over the last three years he said the club has received grants from the province through Trails NB, and the Trail Improvement Fund, as well as a substantial grant last year from the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency.

“Some of that has been spent. The grant runs out at the end of the year, so we have to match the funds and, hopefully, we can arrange for at least another section of the trail.”

New Brunswick Southwest MP Karen Ludwig said this was an amazing trail, which is busy all year round, and it was a real testament to what the Kiwanis Club has done in the community. Noting that Saturday was National Trails Day, she said trails are a tremendous opportunity to attract visitors to communities.

Ludwig said investing in community infrastructure is a vital element of the Atlantic Growth Strategy – a joint strategy between the federal government, and the four Atlantic provinces, to stimulate growth in the region – and tourism is a big part of that.

She said the trail project was a testament to what can be accomplished through the power of community, hard work and partnership.
“Communities improve their quality of life when everyone has affordable, and accessible, gathering spaces. Places that bring families, friends and neighbours together to participate in healthy and inclusive activities.

“Recreational infrastructure contributes to the vibrancy of our communities and can help attract businesses, visitors and new residents. Congratulations to everyone who has supported and worked to hard to make this project a reality.”

Mayor Doug Naish said the trail is part of an overall recreational plan for the town, and noted the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission has now created a regional recreation sub-committee, with the goal of developing a regional recreational plan.

“Congratulations to everyone involved and, particularly, to the Kiwanis Club for their doggedness in pursuing this project.”
Executive director of Trails NB, Paul Jorgensen, said the first time he came to Saint Andrews to work on the trail was in 2001.

“It has been a long time coming, and now you have probably one of the best community trails in the province thanks to the Kiwanis Club. It really has been fantastic.

“As many of you know, we are working towards trying to get all these communities connected. You guys have done one heck of a job. Thank you for getting this trail done.”

He said later the Trans Canada Trail now stretches from Cape Jourmain to the Quebec border and the province is working on connecting to that.

“Trails are a big thing in the province and we have great support from the province to make this happen. This one here is one of the gems of the province. It is very, very high quality.”

Prior to unveiling the donor plaque, Ludwig made a special presentation of a Canada 150 flat to Naish and said she has one for all the municipalities in her riding.