FOVRT call County Councillors and CAO irresponsible with safety of users and residents
Mississippi Mills / October 1, 2018 – Lanark County Councillors will be delivering self-congratulatory remarks at their scheduled official opening of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) in Carleton Place on October 5th next week.
However, Friends of the OVRT (FOVRT), a group of local residents who advocates for active transportation use of the trail, will be boycotting the Lanark County celebrations.
In a written statement, the FOVRT calls Lanark County Councillors and CAO Kurt Greaves “irresponsible” to open the trail without establishing adequate management and enforcement on the trail that will result in unsafe conditions for trail users and residents in populated neighbourhoods in Lanark County.
The FOVRT statement reads:
Lanark County Warden John Fenick, the County’s Council and CAO Kurt Greaves have systematically ignored Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place residents’ concerns pertaining to the safety of local residents and the motorized use of the OVRT through the populated neighbourhoods and downtown cores of these towns. There are many important questions that have gone unanswered.
RE SAFETY: What commitment is there from County for addressing safety concerns of the trails’ users and residents living adjacent to the trail? What recourse, if any, do people have when they encounter incidents?
RE ENFORCEMENT: The County’s management plan states ATV and snowmobile clubs are to police motorized trail traffic, but who realistically will enforce infractions like speeding and general safety on the trail? And what are the consequences for those driving with no license or insurance?
RE INSURANCE: What insurance coverage is there to deal with inevitable accidents on the trail? Or for the death of a pedestrian? What is the County’s additional liability coverage costing taxpayers?
RE MAINTENANCE COSTS: What is the anticipated on-going costs to County taxpayers of maintaining wear on the stone dust trail from the volume of motorized use; specifically, to repair the ongoing occurrence of ruts, potholes and mounds resulting from continual motorized use (This is already happening at the Pakenham bridge and in Almonte)?
Empowering ATV and snowmobile clubs to police motorized trail users and maintain the trail is like having the foxes guard the henhouse. The County’s lack of transparency in providing answers to the public’s questions on liability and maintenance costs to County taxpayers is purposeful deception.
For their own political purposes, Lanark County Councillors and CAO Kurt Greaves are opening this motorized thoroughfare without due consideration for the safety of Lanark residents or revealing the ultimate costs to taxpayers. The opening of the OVRT with these substantial outstanding issues is irresponsible. FOVRT will be boycotting the ribbon cutting opening ceremonies and publicly identify these Councillors and this CAO as being solely responsible for the eventual public dissension, and the traffic accidents, personal injuries and possible deaths on the trail.
Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail