NORTH BAY -- With some help from the government, several organizations in the North Bay area are stepping up with improvement projects that will enhance safety and accessibility for everyone.

“It’s time to build up and do what it takes to make our communities more liveable, more resilient, more sustainable places to live, work and raise our families,” said Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre.

“Investing in recreational infrastructure is an essential part of growing our economy and providing communities and Canadians with more options to connect, express themselves and support one another and get together.”

The Near North Trail Association, the Trout Creek Community Centre and Camp Tillicum are all getting ready to take on major projects.

The Canadian government is providing more than $445,000; the Ontario government is contributing $375,000; and, the three organizations are collectively contributing $300,000.

“This is a time when our province and our country have encountered extremely challenging circumstances and it’s nice to be here to provide some extra good news for several of our communities,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.

The Near North Trail Association will see $131,000 from Ottawa and more than $109,000 from Queens Park.

New railings, decking

“The project will replace decking from bridges, install new railings and 14 culverts and include the purchase of a new snow machine, trailer and drag,” said Lefebvre. “This work will increase trail safety and user experience for snowmobilers along the 1,900-kilometre trail systems.”

John Miller with the trail association said the trails that are going to see these improvements are within the North Bay Club and West Nipissing Club.

“Our projects are already underway,” Miller said. “In fact, the two new bridges are on site waiting to be installed. We have some time issues that we have to wait for to comply with our permits. The other projects involve the re-decking wood structure bridges, the lumber is on order. Local mills are producing the lumber.”

The goal is to have all projects complete by winter.

The Trout Creek Community Centre is getting about $140,000 in total from Ottawa and Queen's Park to make it more inclusive for the entire community.

“The scope of the work includes the construction of an accessible ramp, installation of hands-free hardware and railing, purchase of four sets of publicly accessible removable bleachers for community events and installation of accessible playground equipment,” said Lefebvre.

The municipality of Powassan is putting $50,258 towards the upgrades.

“These bleachers will be very important,” said Mayor Peter McIsaac. “They’ll allow accessibility issues, the ability to partake and enjoy the community events that we offer and, again, this funding is most welcome and will be very well used in our community.”

Camp Tillicum in North Bay

Camp Tillicum in North Bay also received some money. Over $442,000 in provincial and federal funding will help renovate the camp so that generations to come can enjoy it.

“The project includes replacing the existing community hall with a new accessible multipurpose facility and improving the campgrounds such as updating the bathroom facilities, removing safety hazards, and clearly labelling the buildings,” said Lefebvre.

Bob Cunningham, president of Camp Tillicum, was bringing thanks for more than just himself.

“I’m bringing thanks for the thousand of children who will now have a much better camping experience with these grants,” Cunningham said.

“We expect activity on the site in June. We have an issue with load limits on the roads in the area around the camp so we can’t get major trucks in there earlier. Our hope is that the construction will be 90 … whatever the percent is finished during this season. So September/October we should see that.”

Although COVID-19 restrictions are currently in place, officials said the funding came at a good time.

“Heaven forbid we should stop living and stop planning. I mean we’ve got to look to the future, that’s what we’re fighting COVID for. Otherwise we just shut down and forget about everything,” said Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota.