Guelph.com


Terrace driveway proposal disturbs trail users
by: L.A. Livingston

By L.A. Livingston
3/3/2004

County plans to build a private driveway across a public walking trail into the proposed new Wellington Terrace nursing home in Aboyne has raised the ire of some local residents.
“Our family regularly uses the Elora Cataract Trailway on a year-round basis for walking, cycling, running and cross-country skiing,” said Anna Contini of Fergus. “How wonderful to have three kilometres of uninterrupted trail, complete with its natural habitat, peacefullness and gorgeous vistas. It is a haven where one can truly escape. It is also one of the few places where parents can let their young children cycle ahead without worry of cars.”
Gary Cousins, planner for the County of Wellington, is sympathetic to residents’ concerns, but offers little hope that the proposed driveway, already approved by County council, will not run across the trail.
“People have been very forthright with their concerns. We don’t have another option,” he told the News Express. “We would prefer to have two access points to the new seniors’ home, one out to the county road, and to get out to Colborne Street, you have to cross the trail somewhere.”
Contini said the proposed driveway could disturb a wetland along the trail. She also has safety concerns, she said, as the trail is used by school children on nature trips, hikers, cyclists and dog walkers.
“It’s probably one of the most used stretches of trail,” she said. “Our neighbourhood is indeed fortunate to have this resource at its doorstep.”
Cousins notes that the County has not yet received approval from the Grand River Conservation Authority, which owns the trail land, but expects an agreement will be reached with the GRCA in “a month or two.”
“At this point, there isn’t an alternative,” said Centre Wellington councillor Jean Innes, who sits on the GRCA board. “The GRCA had gone to the site, and they had felt that there was a substantial area outside the provincially significant wetland through which a driveway could be built.”
Innes said the GRCA felt a driveway would cause less damage if it followed an existing culvert and old farm lane “that had already been disturbed.”
“My concern is that in the future we might be looking at expanded development and higher traffic volume. There could be a need for it to be expanded,” she said.
The trailway is maintained in part by the Elora Cataract Trailway Association, who is responsible for trimming trees and cutting grass along the trail, as well as other duties.
“We’re hoping to do it in a way that satisfies the conservation authority, and hoping to come up with a design that the trailway people find acceptable,” Cousins said. “We’ve asked the (Elora Cataract) trailway reps to come up with some design concepts, and I believe they’ve forwarded some to our consultants.”
“We’re obviously directly affected, but we don’t have enough information from the county to do anything about it,” said Deryk Smith, past chair of the association.
Smith could not comment on the designs to which Cousins referred.
“When the GRCA looked at it, they were not concerned,” said Innes. “I don’t know if they have addressed some of the concerns that are being expressed now.”
“I should point out that we very much support the new Wellington Terrace project. However, we are strongly opposed to a new roadway disrupting one of the gems of our community,” said Contini. “There are some creative solutions that could be used.”

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