As expected, town council has endorsed two applications for federal funding for major upgrades to Cochrane's massive pathway system.

The plan calls for adding 3.64 km of paved pathways to the existing system, 2.1 km in the Glenbow section, 1.5 km in the Cochrane Ranche, and a tri-school connector. Signage, maps, and multimode paint markers are also part of the project.

Funding is sought through Infrastructure Canada's Active Transportation Fund (ATF) program, which invests in projects that build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails, and pedestrian bridges.

It's a $1,283,263 project, and if the application is successful, the cost to the town will be $513,305.

There has been mixed reaction from the community on replacing the red shale traditionally used for the Glenbow pathway.

Town administration says pavement will allow for year-round safe and accessible usage for a much wider range of ages and levels of physical ability. Red shale is high maintenance and extremely expensive.

"I think there's an opportunity to capture the historic and cultural component of the red shale paths through trail markers or trail naming, or those types of things," town CAO Mike Derricott told council on Mar. 28.

Mayor Jeff Genung says it's an opportunity for the council to do more than talk about the need to improve connectivity.

"It's one of our strategic priorities and it has been for well over four years now, so it's exciting to see a project that is us putting some action behind the words that we're trying to live."

The second application is for $50,000 to replace the town's outdated traffic and cycle control bylaws with a new multimodal traffic bylaw. The ATF would cover 100 per cent of that cost.

Bike Cochrane worked with town administration to facilitate the application.