Paving the Way on the Georgian Trail
Although I’ve not yet had any clients claim they wished to move to the Georgian Triangle because of the awesome trails in the area, many have said that the active lifestyle opportunities here are a big draw. Our trails through-out the region are well known and a great deal of time, money and effort continues to be applied to their expansion and maintenance.
Recently, the Georgian Ski and Cycle Association made presentations to area councils asking them to partner in a $1 million project to pave the full length of the 34 km Georgian Trail. The reasons for paving included:
– It could reduce maintenance, especially weed growth
– It would be more accessible to wheelchair users
– It would be easier for cyclists
– It was always intended to be paved
– That world-class trails are paved and that therefore it would be a big tourist draw.
There is a flip side to this discussion as a reader pointed out to me in a recent email. She said, “
I was upset to hear this idea; as I think it is a poor decision for the following reasons:
– proven to be more stressful on joints to exercise (run, walk, bike) on paved surfaces-this is a big one.
– affect the drainage of the trail; very wet areas along it- will worsen if paved likely
– shorter cross country ski season/snowshoeing with increased melt if paved
– more maintenance long term I would assume of paved surfaces over gravel
– harder on dogs paws
– loss of natural appeal it currently has
It seems as though there is a possibility that they will approve this without a public discussion opportunity; which I think is awful. If they are looking for a grant, why don’t they use the money to form more trails instead of paving the exisitng one that is sufficient and appealing as is.”
According to an article in the local Collingwood Connection newspaper, it’s true that there may or may not be a public process for input into this matter. (This is precisely why municipalities should have long-range strategic plans and prioritized plans for capital expenditures!)
I really don’t know which arguments are valid and am interested to hearing what others have to say. What’s your opinion this subject?
July 20, 2009 Update: The funding application was denied so for now, the trails will NOT be paved. From everything I’ve heard and read, I suspect most people will be happy with that news.