Trails strategy shouldn't be a priority, says former mayor
Kemptville Advance | Jul 21, 2011
The July 7 edition of the Kemptville EMC enlightens us to the proposed integrated community trails strategy." Really, it's an $18 million forecast expenditure over 20 years containing "enforcement programs" and "social marketing," two catch phrases that I really can't stand. Wonder what these folks have been smoking. Does anyone in their right mind really feel that there will be ongoing use of a trail between Burritt's Rapids and Oxford Mills?
We have trail systems in our community that are barely used now. I speak of the trails through the province's Ferguson Forest and the United Counties system in Limerick Forest. The limited use of these trails says to me there is not a huge demand for anything more. Labeling county and municipal motorways a trail system is a joke. It costs over $100,000 per kilometre to provide appropriate widening and a paved shoulder along county roads does anyone think that the United Counties will buy into that? Where this article really makes me see red is the way the statistics were provided to the press. A response of 450 surveys in a population (of at least 16,000 by now) is less than three per cent. If the response represents a family, let's say such responses might represent perhaps 1,000 souls or 6.25 per cent of the population. To me, such a poor response says people clearly aren't interested. Makes me think back to figures used when staff wanted to push a heritage designation down the throats of the folks in Burritt's Rapids. Mr. (Terry) Butler, a response of such a low percentage of the population cannot be interpreted as a "response from a lot of people." Wording of the article says, "The survey revealed the large majority of the population (85 per cent) use the existing trails," etc. The phrasing of that sentence and paragraph suggest the numbers reflect the entire population of North Grenville when in fact they represent 85 per cent of the 450 surveys submitted or just over 380 people. If the numbers genuinely reflected 60, 50 or even 40 per cent of the genuine population then perhaps we could take the report seriously but six per cent or less, really! I appreciate that the EMC is simply copying and using text provided to them.
On numerous times the United Counties has presented its plan for the eventual widening of County Road 43. Those of us who have seen the concept will recall that the plan already calls for both sidewalks and bike paths along the expanded roadway. Affording more than a single sidewalk along 43 will be extremely difficult financially let alone anything more than that. We have just been blessed with our annual audit report which substantiates the direction of council over the past 10 years, there is nothing wrong with our finances and never has been. Trying to impose the costs for some kind of unnecessary trail strategy on developers is going to ensure that our impressive growth up until now will certainly cease to exist.
We have hockey rinks, baseball fields, soccer fields, swimming pools and a perfectly good trail system. For those wishing to exercise we have a multitude of ways to accomplish fitness goals. Put the trails plan in the same place as we put the illproposed heritage designation. Roads in the urban area are in desperate need of serious repair and replacement. I can't see where council will find the funds to even accomplish that goal. Remember, it was Margaret Thatcher who said, "Social programs are great until you run out of other people's money."