Orléans ski trail pilot project gets $15K boost from city

Ski enthusiasts dreaming of a cross-country ski trail in Orléans finally got a $15,000 boost from the city to help make their project a reality.

Organizers still short thousands of dollars to make 8-km trail a reality

Ski Heritage East opened a small section of the trail in Ottawa's east end last spring. (Facebook )

Ski enthusiasts dreaming of a cross-country ski trail in Orléans got a $15,000 boost from the city to help make their project a reality. 

The group known as Ski Heritage East said the city recently announced it would be funding part of the project, though it falls short of the $40,000 needed to hire a groomer to maintain the trial for the entire season. 

The 8-kilometre trail runs near the Ottawa River from Green's Creek to Trim Road and would be open for for classic skiing, snowshoeing, fat-tire cycling and walking. 

Organizer Ian Gadbois said it's a "gem" of a trail, but said it's a shame that it's so under-used in the winter.

The first phase of a winter trail in Orléans would run between Green's Greek and Trim Road along the Ottawa River. (Facebook)

"Everybody flocks to it in the summer and the other three seasons — bikers, runners, walkers. In the winter it's almost dangerous. People do go down there an ski but it's rough," he told CBC Radio's All in a Day on Tuesday. 

While he still needs several thousands dollars more in additional funding, he said the city's offer is a good start. 

Orléans Coun. Bob Monette said he looked into securing city funding after seeing a substantial interest in the initiative last year. He said the money for the pilot is coming from the city's recreational and cultural services department. 

'We know it's going to be a success'

"They'll be able to go after federal, provincial, [Ontario's Trillium Foundation] funding and make it a reality for years to come," the councillor said. 

Gadbois is confident the trail will be up and running this season.  

"We know it's going to be a success. We've had so much pent up demand and we're crawling the Facebook pages in the area and everybody's just really excited," Gadbois said. 

"We'll have that trail groomed certainly through the month of January and depending on how the weather is and how additional funding is we hope to go right to the end of the season."

He said he's still looking for private sponsorship and is running a GoFundMe web page in the hopes of securing the remaining funds.