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Mayor Fernand Dicaire lobbies for PR Trail

Instead of $240,000 for trail maintenance next year, there would be $100,000. Most of the $140,000 reduction would go to the public works department’s road building schedule. The Services communautaires de Prescott-Russell Community Services (SCPRCS) non-profit group would also get a $10,000 boost in its annual support funding from the counties. During the half-hour-long discussion on the proposed 2017 budget revisions, Dicaire made no objections to extra support fun- ding for the SCPRCS or for finding money to ensure the counties’ roadworks schedule next year went ahead as planned. But he expressed concern about taking those funds out of the PRRT maintenance allocation, fearing that it could have an eventual impact on local tourism in his area. “Mine is themunicipalitymost affected,” he said. Dicaire got some support from Cham- plain Township Mayor Gary Barton, who noted that “the trail seems to have gotten out of hand as far as expenses” since the UCPR agreed to assume maintenance responsi- bility. But Barton added that he would also like some time to review the maintenance cost figures for the trail before the budget’s final approval. The budget revisions were accepted by a four-three vote during the committee of the whole session, withMayors Dicaire, Barton, andHawkesbury’s Jeanne Charlebois voting against. East Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Kirby was absent for the session. Warden Guy Desjardins, also mayor for Clarence- Rockland, cast the deciding vote. There has been a suggestion that UCPR member municipalities should look after maintaining those sections of the trail, and any shelters or other facilities adjoining, which run right through their villages. Di- caire said that Alfred-Plantagenet Township cannot afford to add PRRT maintenance to its annual budget. He also expressed hope that the proposed reduction of the trail main- tenance allocation would be a temporary budget measure. “Hopefully, next year I’ll be able to convince them it is something we cannot afford to get rid of,” he said, “that we should not get rid of. This (trail) is something that we’ve been promoting. It’s used every day of the year. It’s a (tourism) tool that we have, and we’ll never get it back if we lose it.”


There could be less money in the counties budget for looking after the Prescott-Rus- sell Recreational Trail. That does not sit well withMayor FernandDicaire of Alfred- Plantagenet Township. “It’s just not right,” Mayor Dicaire said during an interview following the Nov. 9 committee of the whole session of counties council. The latest revision proposed for the 2017 budget for the United Counties of Prescott- Russell (UCPR) includes a suggested reduc- tion to the maintenance allocation for the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail (PRRT).

The pavilion at the Plantagenet section of the Prescott-Russell Trail sees lots of use during the spring, summer and fall months as a rest stop for hikers and cyclists, and a gathering point for special outdoor events. Mayor FernandDicaire of Alfred-Plantagenet Township fears the impact that counties budget cuts could have on the trail. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

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