'Compromise trail route' proposed to address WD Potato
Posted April 7,
A review of alternate options for the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) through
New Tecumseth to address concerns expressed by farmers along the
preferred route recommends a path around WD Potato Ltd that requires an
easement from Walter Davidson, utilizes a short section of 10 Sideroad,
continues northerly along Walton Group's property, before tying back
into the main line just south of the 11th Line.
The alternative route proposals were ordered by councillors last month
to further address concerns related to the proximity of trail users to
agricultural fields and the effect of agricultural spraying and the
health and safety of trail users; roadside parking and the obstruction
of farm equipment; safety concerns of trail corridor passing through
bison pasture lands; and, impact of trail location on W.D. Potato
The Alternative Route Assessment carried out by Tract Consulting, is on
the council agenda tonight, along with the recommendation to use the
abandon rail corridor (ARC) "with the deviation" to address the W.D.
Potato Limited operation concerns" and proceed with the preparation of
the final plans and detailed construction drawings in order to call
tenders for construction, "it being noted that a maximum budget of
$500,000 was approved by Council at its September 30, 2013 meeting for
this TCT Phase."
It's noted in the TRACT report that farmers along the route have over
the last few years expanded their field operations within the road
right of way, which as an alternate route, would require the fields to
be cut back off the road allowance. The hydro cooridor was also
considered, but "holds little visual interest." As well, its use would
require Ontario Hydro to reopen agricultural use licenses in place that
would scale back the amount of land being farmed, which would lead to a
reduction in rental income.
The TRACT review also includes minutes of discussions had with
representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Health Canada, PEI's
confederation Trail Supervisor, and the OFA, over the issue of
agricultural spraying, and its impacts on trail users.
"Spraying is a normal farm practice and must be done in suitable
conditions -low wind," according to the report under the heading
consultation with Keith Currie, Executive Member of the Ontario
Federation of Agriculture, and author of articles on trails in
agricultural areas. "He does not feel that this is a serious issue for
two reasons: the spray heads are facing down and near the ground, drift
is minimized; sprays
are not allowed to leave the property and affect neighbouring property
under 'Normal Agricultural Practices.' Secondly, typically pesticides
or herbicides used are not so toxic to humans unless their exposure is
significant. The one qualifier to this is aerial spraying where the
material is blown up into fruit trees for example. The potential for
drift is much greater."
Fencing, including along the section where bison farming is taking
place, and signage are key elements of managing concerns on the route.
Both of which would be at municipal expense.
"By working together with representatives of W.D. Potato and the Walton
Group, we feel a suitable
alternative route can be achieved to everyone's satisfaction,"
according to TRACT. "Should a compromise solution not be achieved, we
would recommend completing the trail work within the bounds of the ARC."