The Ferry Island campground is likely getting an upgrade as an engineering consulting firm here has pledged to add one kilometre of new trail to the popular site next year.
The company, McElhanney, wants to undertake this project as a donation to celebrate its 50th anniversary of doing business in Terrace and area.
Jonathan Lambert, on behalf of McElhanney, made a presentation outlining the company’s intentions during a City of Terrace committee of the whole meeting July 21.
The company’s pitch included adding 300 metres of new trail south and another 700 metres of new trail north of the Dudley Little Bridge that currently runs adjacent to the campground.
According to Lambert, the trail additions will provide safe access to the park because pedestrians, cyclists and other users will no longer have to dangerously cross a portion of Highway 16 while exploring the trail network.
“It’s something to give back to the community,” Lambert said.
During the committee of the whole meeting, Lambert said McElhanney will pay for the proposed trail extension and was not asking for any money from the city.
Construction costs for the project are estimated to be somewhere in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, he said.
City councillors and staff present at the meeting were supportive of the McElhanney proposal.
They approved the concept of the McElhanney extension in principle, and will allow the company to do continued exploration and development of a detailed plan for the trail network.
Mayor Carol Leclerc said that any way to have Ferry Island become more accessible for use is welcomed.
“The city would always appreciate gifts like that, legacy gifts like that, that enhance our community and are for the betterment of everybody,” Leclerc said.
The highway access point of the McElhanney proposal includes a switchback on the north side of Highway 16 and an underpass that will be constructed using an existing road which was once used for bridge construction.
According to Lambert, the switchback will allow users to safely access the park and avoid having to cross over the highway.
Also planned are interpretive markers along the trail network to point out local flora and fauna.
Another feature might include benches that will allow users to enjoy the view of the scenic west fork of the Skeena River or Old Skeena Bridge.
McElhanney has been in business for over 105 years and a Terrace branch has been in operation since 1967.
In 2010, the company built a 100th anniversary monument at the northeast corner of the Sande Overpass that points out local mountains.
Lambert said the company wants to complete the bulk of the Ferry Island project during the spring of 2017, with the one kilometre of new trail extensions open to the public during next year’s Riverboat Days.