Bisset Trail Opening - Another section of the Trans Canada Trail

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The Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association celebrated in grand fashion Saturday 21 April opening the newest section of the Trans Canada Trail. The Bissett Trail now joins Colby Village more directly to the Cole Harbour Heritage Park and into the Halifax Regional Municipality Active Transportation system.

Gray skies and a "brisk" wind did not deter over 80 people from coming out to participate in the activities. Volunteers from the Association were out early Saturday morning setting the stage with a marquee tent, banners and flags. The event got off on a noisy start with an "Oyez Oyez Oyez" call to order by the kilt wearing master of ceremonies. The importance of this new trail with the bridge crossing the brook joining our trails with Colby Village was underlined by the attendance of an impressive official party and good media coverage. Mayor Mike Savage, Premier Darrell Dexter, MP Robert Chisholm, TCT National Director of Trail, Jane Murphy andCouncillor Nicoll were welcomed by our Chair - Holly Woodill and invited to say a few words to the assembled crowd. All speakers were effusive in their praise for a job well done and noted the cooperation at all levels of government.  The level of interest by our representatives and the warm reception to their speeches by the crowd bodes well for our continued work in building and maintaining trails.  The cooperative nature of this endeavour was underlined in the ribbon cutting ceremony with Councillor Nicoll flanked by the mayor and the premier and Holly Woodill flanked by Jane Murphy and MP Robert Chisholm simultaneously cutting the ribbon after a countdown from the crowd.

The warmest applause came during the speech by our local councillor Lorelei Nicoll. She played an important role in keeping the project moving and provided funding from her councillor capital funding allocation which purchased the 20 metre bridge and paid for part of its installation. She made a great point by bringing the HRM regional Trails staff and CHPTA's Charley Sharkey, project manager and Jim Tudor, our "Mr Trails" up to the front to receive well deserved applause from the crowd. Councillor Nicoll and Charley Sharkey unveiled an interpretive panel, the first of several planned for the area, after the ribbon cutting to complete the formal ceremonies.

Once again, despite the cool spring weather, people stayed after the ceremonies to view the displays, talk with CHPTA members and our representatives and sample the refreshments including a large decorated cake. Even the local ducks got in on the act checking out for any falling veggies or cake.

And folks, this is just the beginning. The CHPTA intends to build further trails as part of this project that will allow people to enjoy the former Rehab centre lands and the great views from the top of the hill overlooking Bissett Lake as well as a more direct connection across Bissett Road to the Park. With the anticipated completion of the trail head on Cole Harbour Road by the Jennifer Place apartments, residents of Forest Hills will gain easier access to the entire system of trails.

Michael McFadden