New Tecumseth
Free Press Online

LETTERS

Madhunt Publishing Company
Alliston, Ontario

Madhunt Publishing Company
founded March 22, 1999.

New Tecumseth Free Press Online
First Posted April 30, 1999

To email: Tony Veltri .

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Extra work, expense for 'most farmers' who don't live on site

to the editor,

Posted March 19, 2014

Robert Kirkpatrick's letter is a prime example of the lack of understanding of the issues with the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) that affect our area differently than other areas.

As far as crop spraying, he has greatly oversimplified the issue. It's not an issue of seeing a sprayer and a person turning around. There are re-entry periods with many of these chemicals that can be up to two days long. Just because you don't see the sprayer in action does not mean it's safe to re-enter the area.

Much of the land being traversed is planted in potatoes and other root vegetables. These crops are sprayed on almost a weekly basis and different farms spray on different days. This would create sections of the trail being cut off at various points throughout the growing season, which would also be the main TCT use season. That would also require gates be put up to keep people out until it is safe to re-enter and someone to go out and open them when it is safe. Most of these fields are not worked by the people that live on the farms, which means farmers would have to travel back out and re-open the gates, extra work and expense for the farmers.

To say that making the trail public would keep off motorized vehicles is ridiculous. They will continue to use it, and the removal of existing barricades will allow them even easier access. I have seen sections of the Bruce Trail on the way to Owen Sound and there is a beaten path made by 4-wheelers around the trail gates which are complete with signage prohibiting motorized vehicles. To think this area would be any different, and especially to think that trail users will be able to police it any better than the land owners have been able to thus far is ridiculous to say the least.

As far as cost, while costing has been done for initial building the trail, which I think has been greatly underestimated itself, there is also going to be maintenance costs. We live along the rail corridor, it bisects our farm and I know that it is thick with poison ivy and other noxious weeds (as defined in the noxious weed act).

When we had Parks and Rec representatives out a few years ago to discuss all the issues we were having with people using the trail to access our property, bother our livestock, and a myriad of other issues, we asked them about their obligations under the weed act to control the ones on their property to keep them from spreading constantly onto ours. We were told that it would cost thousands a year just to look after the weed control in our section and the Town was not prepared to do that. If it's that much just for the section that crosses our farm, I'd shudder to think how much it would be for 20+ kms.

I would assume that with the public, including children, using the trail, there would be a need to control the noxious weeds along it. That is not even touching on maintenance of fences, picking up litter and other issues that would arise.

Those occasionally using the trail recreationally cannot possibly understand what it is like to actually live along it. Just because someone who spends a couple of hours a month on it has never come across a problem does not mean they don't exist. When you live on the rail line and have people trespassing, feeding your animals over the fence, leaving litter behind, flying through on motorized vehicles and creating biosecurity concerns, then you can understand the issues.

I believe we are one of the only farms that actually has livestock that abuts right onto the right of way and we have very legitimate concerns regarding the spread of disease to our animals from trail users, especially when they feel the need to interact with our animals directly over the fences.

To say this area is the same as the other areas the trail has gone through without issue just is not true, the type of farming taking place along this section is different than the wheat and hay fields that it crosses in most other areas that require minimal maintenance, and needs to be dealt with differently. This is the farmers' livelihoods, they have a few months a year to get their work done, and time is money, delays in spraying or extra trips back to fields because of the trail affect their bottom line.

Kelli Edwards

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