Working on the railroad: Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail property lease extended in advance of intended purchase from VIA

L’ORIGNAL — In a step toward the municipality’s intended purchase of the former rail bed, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) and VIA Rail Canada have extended the municipality’s current lease of the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail property for an additional six months — until June 30, 2021.

UCPR says the purpose of the Dec. 17 contract extension is to provide leeway for both parties to come to an agreement early in 2021 for the purchase of the property — also known as the Montreal and Ottawa Sub-Corridor — by the UCPR from VIA Rail.

“This extension will not only allow time for both parties to have further discussions, but it will also allow the Recreational Trail to be used for the upcoming winter season by the various snowmobile clubs in Eastern Ontario, and those that use the trail for winter recreation activities,” stated Stéphane P. Parisien, Chief Administrative Officer of the UCPR.

“VIA Rail Canada is pleased with the agreement reached with the UCPR, which is a positive step forward for both parties and the Eastern Ontario region, and good news for all during these pandemic times, when outdoor winter activities are more important than ever,” said Dominique Lemay, Chief Operating Officer for VIA Rail Canada.

Discussions will continue over the course of the six-month extension period, and both parties will keep stakeholders apprised of decisions as those details become available.

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