New certification for PPJ

Added: Wed, 05/10/2017 - 11:09pm
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The MRC is currently waiting for recommendations from Vélo Quebec about how to improve the 92 kilometres of the PPJ trail, with the aim to obtain Vélo-sympatique certification. 

Allyson Beauregard

PONTIAC – During March's Council of Mayor's meeting, Council agreed to move
forward with obtaining “vélosympathique” certification for the PPJ trail through Vélo-Québec.
Eleven volunteer trail inspectors, contacted directly by Vélo-Québec, travelled the trail last month to inventory what is available and indicate where improvements are needed. Using this information, Vélo-Québec will issue recommendations for improving the trail, the safety, and the experience for users. An answer is expected by the end of May.
The certification will be awarded after the specified targets have been met and verified by the volunteer trail inspectors.
The Vélo-sympatique movement encourages communities and organizations to cycle as an everyday mode of transportation as well as for leisure activities. It recognizes actions taken by communities, which encourage the use of bicycles on a daily basis in a safe environment, by awarding their certification.
While the Vélo-sympatique study and certification are free, recommended improvements will need to be covered by the MRC. Chakib Ahmimed, MRC Pontiac Culture, Sports and Leisure Coordinator, is handling the file; he said the timeline for implementing Vélo Quebec's recommendations will depend on what the recommendations are and their associated costs. “We will fix them all,” he committed, noting the work will begin this summer.
According the Ahmimed, the certification will go a long way in increasing the trail's visibility, attracting more users, and ultimately, improving its condition.
Working with municipalities and community groups
In addition to the Vélo Quebec study, according to Ahmimed, the MRC is also working with local users of the PPJ, such as the GreenPPJVerte group, to identify areas where they believe the trail can be improved. “Our members have committed to travel the trail and identify any problem areas such as broken gates or where more stone dust is needed, etc.,” said Green PPJ Verte spokesperson Remo Pasteris, noting the group would also like to have input on how this year's budget for the PPJ trail will be spent. They also recommend signs be installed along the trail so all users can monitor and report any issues. 
“We want to give eyes to everyone. We need signs indicating who trail users can contact if they see a problem ... if we have a nice [well-maintained] trail, more people will come and use it, which will encourage the MRC to invest more in it,” he explained.
Ahmimed said the MRC will also work with municipalities to find solutions to identified problems and there is a possibility the MRC will also hire an
engineer to assess the trail's condition.