As part of a $1.1-million initiative to keep the community active, the town and the province have funded two large health and wellness projects in Vanderhoof.
Last month, a range of outdoor fitness equipment was installed in Riverside Park. The town also completed construction of a 2.2-kilometre trail system that weaves through some of the community’s most scenic areas.
Both projects were celebrated and put to the test on Friday, Nov. 2, by Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof, and John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes.
“These two new projects are incredible assets to the community of Vanderhoof,” said Thiessen.
Amid snow and slush, the two political leaders took a short jaunt down a portion of the trail next to the Vanderhoof Community Museum, and then travelled to Riverside Park for a brief workout.
Rustad, who knows of several other communities that have installed the same fitness equipment, said he always hears the same positive story.
“It’s great to have that option for people who want to be outside and have the opportunity to get a little exercise,” he said.
The $630,000 Community Trail Project included the construction of a look-out station next to the museum and a bridge across Stoney Creek. The addition of benches, garbage containers and a walking lane across the Douglas Street bridge were also important parts of the project.
Installing the fitness equipment was just one component of a $473,000 project to spruce up Riverside Park. The development of a multi-use sports field and the purchasing of portable washrooms, a mobile stage and a sound and lighting system also fell under the Riverside Park Project.
Rustad helped the town secure $315,000 and $366,000 of provincial grant money for the trail and park projects respectively. A $12,000 rubber mat that was installed beneath the fitness equipment was paid for by Tire Stewardship B.C., a provincial government recycling program.
“The government of B.C. provided over $680,000 to these projects, which will provide lots of opportunity for local residents to get out and enjoy the community and connect on many levels,” said Rustad.
Before leaving Riverside Park and heading to Woody’s Bakery to discuss other matters, Thiessen and Rustad shook hands and spoke selflessly about one another’s efforts in bringing the projects to fruition.
“Those were great grants, and you’re going to see a lot of activity – and you’re already seeing it,” Thiessen told Rustad.
“Hey, all I did was try to advocate for it,” Rustad said about the grant money, which came from the province’s Local Motion and Towns for Tomorrow programs.
“You guys did all the hard work.”