Master trails plan to help put Fort on the map

The new Master Trails Plan and GIS mapping project for Fort St. James has been awarded.

The new Master Trails Plan and GIS mapping project for Fort St. James has been awarded to McElhanney Consulting Ltd. and R. Radloffe & Associates Inc..

After putting the plan out to tender, the submission was chosen by the District of Fort St. James from the eight proposals received.

The initiative is aimed at fulfilling priority identified in the community visioning session and one of the District’s key goals and strategies, the goal of making Fort St. James a safe and healthy community.

The winning bid came in at $35,200. The funding for the project will be coming from a grant from Northern Health to promote healthier communities, from the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition and from Northern Development Initiative Trust for some of the signage.

The plan will involve mapping the existing trails in the area, looking at potential for expansion or new trails, creating an online and print version of the map, signage of trails in the area, looking at traffic flow now and projected through the community, identifying cultural and historical sites of significance, and working with First Nations, Ministry of Forests, seniors, and others to identify different interest groups’ needs.

The plan will also aim to create a clear process for user groups to legitimize trails and after identifying future plans for trails, look for possible timelines and funding sources as well as create policies and procedures for trail maintenance, as this will be important for the sustainability of the work which is done.

A panel of five selected the successful bid. Joan Burdeniuk represented District council, the Transportation Committee, and the Healthier Communities Committee, Wayne Moll represented trail stakeholders, Emily Colombo, economic development officer for the District of Fort St. James, Kevin Crook, chief administrative officer for the District of Fort St. James and Olive McMahon, policy planning research intern for the District of Fort St. James were also on the panel.

The five-person panel looked at each bid and scored them based on: the qualifications of the consultant, methodology proposed, if they demonstrated an understanding of the request for proposals, the projected timeline and the costs. All five panel members ended up with the McElhanney Consulting bid as their top pick based on those criteria.

“That made it really easy,” said Colombo. “Although all of the submissions we received were excellent.”

The work is projected to take 14 weeks to complete the plan, and Colombo said the District of Fort St. James would like to hold an open house in the fall to present the plan to the community and ask for feedback.

The goal is to have a usable document people will want to read and be able to refer back to as time goes on.

The work will be led by Glen Stanker.

“It’s really exciting,” said Colombo. “I think he’s going to do  great job.”