Council votes to move forward with TCT development mostly
using public ROW
Posted April 8,
Twelve speakers, New Tecumseth's trails' consultant, the director of
parks and recreation, and councillors spent about two hours last night
debating the fate of the proposed Trans Canada Trail through town,
culminating in a committee vote in favour of using the Town owned
abandoned rail corridor. The only deviation initially proposed would be
an easement, still to be negotiated, to lessen the impact around WD
Potato Ltd property on 10 Sideroad.
WD owner Walter Davidson, reiterated his concerns last night about the
trail and its impact on his estimated $100 million operation, adding
that he was not issuing any potato grower contracts until the issue was
resolved. But the recommendation approved last night also includes a
provision that if Mr. Davidson doesn't agree to an easement, that the
Town proceed with using the ROW.
"Stop at the 10th Line, and drive your car to the 14th Line, that'll
solve everybody's problem," said Mr. Davidson.
For the first time in several years, pro-trail voices turned out to ask
councillors to move forward, including several members of previous
trail committees, whose starts go back 15 years.
The farmers who spoke last night, also repeated their concerns about
trail users, and the impacts they could have on their agricultural
operations, including spraying, and irrigation conflicts, "bio-security
Ward 5 councillor Donna Jebb, argued that "urban residents do not
understand today's farming practices."
In the end, the majority of council were of the same opinion that if
the trail doesn't follow the abandoned rail line, it will not be built.
The grant funds from the various government levels and Trans Canada
Trail, do not fund trail systems along roadways.
"If we don't put it along the ARC, we're not going to have a trail,"
said mayor Mike MacEachern. "It shouldn't be about politics."
Deputy mayor Rick Milne, agreed, suggesting, "we'll be another 16
years. I'll be long gone."
The decision comes back next Monday night for council ratification.
Barring a change in the vote, the Town will shift to preparing the
tender, and meet with affected landowners along the line to address
their concerns, either with fencing, gates, signage.
New Tecumseth's TCT would total 26 km when completed, of which 18.5 km
remains unfinished, one of the largest single missing links in the
cross country network. It's estimated to cost $1.5 million to finish,
with an annual maintenance cost of approximately $45,000.
There's a 100 ft bridge, 35 ft high over the Nottawasaga River that
requires decking repairs and safety railings, the area is also
overgrown and requires clearing and grubbing. Another is 3.86 km from
10th Line to Daniele Gate and includes a 104 ft long, and 13 ft high
bridge over the Beeton Creek, which needs a new deck and railings
installed. And, about 1 km between 10 Sideroad and the 10th Line.
TCT has provided a grant of $250,000, and the Town will draw $220,000
from the PRC development charges reserves, and $30,000 is provided by
Simcoe County, to make up the municipal portion. Simcoe County Trails
representative told councillors last night that they may be able to
contribute more funding to help address farmer concerns, and he
suggested local development interests should be engaged as well, as
sponsors for various sections.
The federal government wants the TCT completed in time for the 150th
Anniversary of Confederation in 2017, while the provincial government
has 2015 in mind timed with the Pan Am Games in the GTA.