The following was written by Daniel Bushman from The Watrous Manitou.
“With a cut of the tape by Watrous Town Councillor John Gunderson followed by the applause from those in attendance, the Rotary Trail Phase Two officially opened. Despite an earlier rain shower Friday, June 30, local Rotarians, dignitaries and residents gathered near the water treatment plant in Watrous, (which is also close to where the new phase of the trail begins) to see the official ribbon cutting ceremony.
After a few remarks from Rotarian Jim Coulter, Rotarian Al Mosewich, who has been a major driver of the first and second phase of the trail along with Harold Regier, who graciously provided some of his farmland to be used for the second instalment held the ribbon while Gunderson made the ceremonial cut. Rotarians, residents and visitors then took a walk on the new phase, which links up to the original trail and curves back towards Watrous.
“There are a lot of people that need to be recognized,” said Mosewich regarding the trail’s opening. Mosewich said Harold Regier and his family generously provided permission for the town to include the trail on his land located on the northern part of Watrous. In addition to Regier’s generosity, Ron Ediger from Melron Service was the main contractor on the trail build; Wes Woiden from Woiden Construction did the installation of the culverts; Brad Sundquist from Watrous Concrete supplied tons of base gravel; and all made significant personal donations to help see the trail get built.
Many local fundraisers over the last four years, including last year’s GJM Charity Classic Golf Tournament have also been contributors towards the trail. “There have been 100’s of donors and many fundraisers to raise money for the second phase of the trail.”
Mosewich also noted many town employees like Public Works Superintendent Dion Tarasoff and his public works crews did much of the work; and Susan Jabs and staff in the town office also contributed, writing receipts for contributors.
While work on the original phase of the trail, which runs along Main Street in Watrous towards the cemetery began October 2006 and was completed July of 2009, phase two took a little longer, spanning four years. However, this time around
Mosewich said they were able to raise enough funds and will not have to take out a loan to pay off the remainder of the trail.
“It took four years to raise the money and one week to spend it,” Mosewich chuckled. Substantially complete, Mosewich said they would be letting the gravel pack and settle for phase two. Instead of paving it, a chip-seal surface will be applied by Chad Mierau from Diamond Asphalt Repair, but might not be completed until the fall.
While phase one stretches 1.6 kilometres, phase two, which extends from the first phase and loops back towards Watrous to 3rd St. E., is about one kilometre in length.
To walk both phases Mosewich said, “If you go from The Watrous Manitou on Main Street to the gazebo on the first phase and then over to phase two and then down to 13th Ave. off 3rd St. E. and over to the first phase of the trail then back to The Watrous Manitou, it would be about three miles. It would also take about an hour to walk. I am excited to see the trail come to fruition and I hope that others will enjoy it as much as I already have.”
As for what is next, Mosewich said there are four proposals that have been looked at and would more than likely be done in three or four parts. Those include:
• having the trail extending alongside the highway towards the Manitou Beach Golf Course;
• having the trail located on the other side of the highway and running towards Manitou Beach (there would be water to contend with in both situations);
• crossing the highway and following the creek bed,formerly known as Stacey’s Dam, to the back of Wellington Park at Manitou Beach. This would be more of a nature trail type path; and
• following the road allowance that runs in a line from Centennial Ford to the west end of Manitou Beach behind the golf course. That might allow the trail to hook up to the Manitou Beach trail system.
Mosewich noted if any of these options are done, that it could take up to 10 years or so before completion. Until then, Mosewich is looking forward to enjoying the current trail.
The Rotarian also provided some unique statistics for Watrous Rotary Trail Phase Two:
• over 600 tons of pit run gravel was used;
• 137 tons of base gravel and 1368 yards of aggregate was used;
• 34 hours of the track steer spreading gravel was done;
• 53 hours of trucks hauling and unloading gravel was done;
• 130 hours of labour from driving trucks, bringing out backhoes to other work;
• nine hours of peeling back the top soil; and
• 17 hours of packing the gravel.
“From start to completion, it was really a whole town effort and the entire community has been behind us since we began phase two. There remains a core group of Rotarians that would like to see the trail extend to the beach so perhaps that will one day become a reality, it just might take 10 years or more to get there. It is like Rome, it was not built in a day.”