By Mona Bordage
People in the Gaetz Brook area might have noticed recent changes on the path behind the Legion. Shore Active Transportation Association (SATA) Trails volunteers have been out in force raking and clearing brush along the Gaetz Brook Greenway despite cold rainy spring weather. Under a letter of authority from the Department of Natural Resources, SATA is restoring the rail bed through Gaetz Brook to be used as an “active transportation” (AT) trail, a trail that will be open to bikers and walkers, but closed to motorized vehicles. (See “Overflow Crowd at ATV Meeting” in this issue for a different perspective.)
SATA was formed in 2014 by a small volunteer group who believed that providing Active Transportation routes would tackle and improve some of the well-identified health and safety needs of the Eastern Shore’s rural communities. Since then, acting under Letters of Authority from the Department of Natural Resources, SATA has taken on a progressively more ambitious series of projects, starting in 2016 with a 1-kilometer link around Porter’s Lake Elementary School and Metro X bus link. This was accomplished in 2016.
SATA’s volunteers are now working on the 7km Gaetz Brook trail that is an essential piece of the active transportation main spine greenway linking communities along the Eastern Shore.. SATA Trails is part of the Eastern Shore Greenway Committee and the Halifax Regional Trail Association (HRTA).
Along with these trail members (The Atlantic View Trail Association, Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association, and the Musquodoboit Trailways Association), they manage an infrastructure of connected greenways that offers safe AT from Cole Harbour to Musquodoboit Harbour (with only a short broken link in Seaforth end of Causeway Road to Exit 20 on Hwy 1.)
Just this week, the Federal Government partnered with a Dalhousie Health lead initiative that will promote a healthy behavior program called UPLIFT in 360 Nova Scotia schools to improve activity levels and eating habits. The plan includes safe cycling routes to and from school, and school gardens over the next 5 years. See: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/kids-health-uplift-dalhousie-funding-1.5131078?fbclid=IwAR21e8t2QLUXKlEqlfl76pjCaYCPJA---Q_qc7CObYSLLdFBcxgqsKFlHcE .
SATA and its partners are poised to assist with the UPLIFT plan. The Gaetz Brook Trail passes Gaetz Brook Junior High directly. The Musquodoboit Trail Association has received another LOA to extend their 21-year-old trial to meet the Gaetz Brook trail by 2019. This means the High School and the French schools will all have connected trail access in the future.