Five-Year Vision Seeks to Make Lanark County a Cycling Tourism Destination

[The following is an editorial written by Share the Road Executive Director, Jamie Stuckless, who is presenting at Lanark County Council this evening. www.sharetheroad.ca]

Cycling tourism is growing in Ontario, with almost 2 million visitors spending $428 million per year by bike (Tour by Bike: Ontario’s Cycling Tourism Plan). Lanark County has the opportunity to tap into this market and position itself as a popular cycling destination. Luckily, the work plan to make this happen already exists.

As part of a Bicycle Friendly Community workshop this spring, local representatives worked with the Share the Road Cycling Coalition to develop an action-oriented work plan. The work plan highlights local cycling assets, such as the trails system, relatively low volume roads, multiple tourist attractions within close proximity to each other and a place on the Voyageur Cycling Route – a 630km cycling experience that is being developed to connect Sudbury to the National Capital Region. As presented to County Council on Wednesday evening, the work plan also includes several recommended next steps that have been successful in similar communities.

To oversee county efforts to promote cycling, Lanark County should establish a county-wide Active Transportation Advisory Committee. Like we have seen in Mississippi Mills, committees like these help to provide vision and support to staff in implementing cycling work plans. In fact, 86% of communities that have been recognized as being bicycle-friendly in Ontario have an established Active Transportation Advisory Committee. This is a best practice that should be replicated locally.

Once established, the Advisory Committee can work to ensure that Lanark County is well positioned to leverage provincial funding opportunities to build a connected network of cycling routes. In addition to building a Provincial Cycling Network to connect the province by bike, Ontario will be investing up to $225 million in building safe spaces to bike as part of the Climate Change Action Plan. This could be a big opportunity to connect existing trails to local amenities and destinations like schools and downtown business districts that Lanark does not want to miss out on.

Building a cycling tourism destination isn’t just good for tourists – local residents can get in on the fun as well. To promote and support an attractive cycling culture, Lanark County can focus on encouragement programs that make cycling more fun and convenient. Every June, Mississippi Mills coordinates the Silver Chain Challenge as a friendly competition between Lanark & Renfrew Counties to inspire residents to try cycling. The Advisory Committee could jump on board to actively support this event in the area. Other communities have also seen success in helping residents and tourists explore by bike with wayfinding directional signage that highlights prominent destinations and local cycling maps.

The potential economic benefit of promoting cycling tourism could be big for Lanark County. As an added benefit, building a more bicycle-friendly community would also create a safer, more connected and greener community for residents. We know from our own research that 66% of Ontarians believe that getting more people on bikes benefits everyone, not just the people who bike. You’ve got the work plan, let’s get to work.

News items & letter to Lanark County Councillors & Administrators

Three news articles in the Millstone News lately, all worth a read...

Tale of Two Rail Trails (Millstone News, September 3, 2017)

Safety First on Trail (Millstone News, September 6, 2017)

Interim Lanark County decision on Almonte rail trail (Millstone News, September 7, 2017)


Also, the Friends of the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail wrote the following letter. We have not received any response to date...

September 5, 2017    

Lanark County Councillors and  Lanark County Administration  (Sent via emails)        

Lanark County Councillors, CAO Kurt Greaves and administration,    

I am writing on behalf of the Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (FOVRT), a group supporting the development of the rail trail as a non-motorized, active transportation greenway.  

FOVRT wishes to register with the Lanark County Council and its administration our organization’s wholehearted support for the compromise trail-use solution presented by the Mississippi Mills Council. We support a non-motorized trail designation within the ward of Almonte and the enhancement of the existing bypasses for motorized recreational vehicle users around our community.

FOVRT sees the need for this special designation primarily as a serious safety issue, with concerns for the likelihood of conflicts between motorized users and residents and accidents in our neighbourhoods and downtown cores.  Members of FOVRT also have concerns about policing and bylaw enforcement, conflicts with residents and active transportation users, the loss of tourism opportunities for the Almonte heritage district, and the loss of enjoyment of property and property values for those residents adjacent to the trail.

FOVRT requests the Lanark County Council recognize the trail-use plan arrived at by the Mississippi Mills Council through its extensive public consultations. We ask the Lanark County Council to respect the will of our elected representatives, and wishes of the residents of Mississippi Mills and vast majority of downtown business owners. Should the County choose otherwise, then the FOVRT asks that the County Warden Bill Dobson or CAO Kurt Greaves to provide a written response justifying its course of action so that we might share it with our network of supporters and have it for future reference.

Sincerely,

Chris George,  FOVRT Secretary

Lanark County Councillors let us down, but we're still advocating for an active transportation OVRT

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There is bitter disappointment in the manner Lanark County Councillors so disrespectfully turned down (August 23, 2017) the recommendations on the use of the rail trail presented by the elected representatives of Mississippi Mills Council and supported by so many of its residents.

Below is a first-hand account of the meeting from a FOVRT member.  

The rose tint wore off completely last night. Actually it was power washed off…  So here are my thoughts on the Lanark Council actions. It is clear to me:

  • County has no interest in bypasses whatsoever
  • County has no interest in learning or reading or supporting AT, except if it involves them getting more money to promote their agenda
  • The County agenda is being heavily dictated by snowmobile and to some degree ATV interests
  • The rules are being made for them. Non-motorized users are a distant afterthought, if that…
  • The snowmobilers have veto power absolutely on any bypass option. Why would they give up guaranteed access to the trail? They won’t.

My rosy interpretation of the motion (tabled in a report by Kurt Greaves, County CAO) that would have no snowmobiles in Almonte for 5 years (over the bridges), was also just plain wrong. The CAO made the remark to the effect, “next year when the bridges in Almonte are open, we will just cancel this agreement... [and allow snowmobiles].".  

The Mississippi Mills Council recommendation (to use the MM OVRT Taskforce's report as the plan forward) was summarily dismissed as inadequate in terms of bypass options. County Councillors had no interest in even having staff look at the recommendations and offer a report / evaluation for next meeting. Shaun McLaughlin, Mayor of Mississippi Mills, introduced such a motion, to refer the recommendations to County staff, but the motion was defeated. I would say it was actually greeted with open hostility. 

Another long-time Almonte resident, who sat through the Lanark County EDC meeting (detailed above) observed:

The County councillors who voted against Mississippi Mills are elected by those who want to drive their machines through the centre of Almonte. It seems they couldn't care less about what the residents living there want.   

Please keep in touch, we will have further updates and actions plans, soon!

Planning the trail ahead & developing the rail bed as a greenway for active transportation users

Over the last six months, FOVRT appreciates the support of our network in making our collective voices heard at local municipal and county councils. Thank you.

Having said that, there has been a bend in the trail and the Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail is now looking towards the new horizon before us. We have been reflecting on how best to continue to support the development of the old CP rail bed for active transportation users.

By definition, “active transportation” is all muscle-powered activities, from walking and running to cycling -- that is all non-motorized activities. It does include electric, motor-assisted aids, such as electric wheel chairs, for those requiring assistance with mobility and/or accessibility.

With the recent motion coming out of Mississippi Mills Council, there is still a lot of work to do in realizing our vision for a recreational trail. The Lanark County administration is now developing a trail management plan that will dictate the regulations of motorized and non-motorized use of the trail, while (hopefully) acknowledging the special designation for the trail through the populated sections of Mississippi Mills.

Here are some important dates and activities to note in the months ahead:

· Jul/Aug – Lanark County administration developing trail management plan

· Aug – (tentative) MMills councillors to make a presentation on the MM Council’s motion to Lanark County Council

· Aug – news of potential grant funding to MMills and CP for paving of trail between MMills and CP

FOVRT will keep you informed of all trail news in Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place, and at the Lanark County Council.

Our core group of volunteers is also expanding its scope of inquiry to inform our network of supporters on pertinent active transportation, cycling and trail development news from within Lanark County and elsewhere in Canada. For example, we hope to be able to share great news in the months ahead:

· Sept – possible news of the OVRT selected as part of the Voyageur Cycling Route (cycle trail in eastern Ont & western Que)

· Sept – possible news of the OVRT selected as the primary route for Cycle Ontario (featured cycle trails by the Ontario Government through the Province)

There is much happening on these fronts, which could have a huge impact on the development of the trail. A recent happening was the very successful Easter Ontario Active Transportation Summit held by the Ontario Transportation Network in Carleton Place on May 31st and June 1st. It was at that event that presentations and mapping workshops took place with regard to the Voyageur Cycling Route and MTO provincial cycling network. You can find background information and outcomes of the event at the healthyllg.org website.

We trust this additional information will better inform our supporters and the interested public on the responsible development of a community asset that will support a healthier and more active citizenry. And it ties in directly to our original objective to have developed a non-motorized recreational trail through the communities of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place that will link into existing active transportation routes through Ottawa and the greater National Capital Region.

If you know of someone who wants to be kept informed on this range of issues, please have them sign up for future news by contacting the FOVRT @ chrisg.george@gmail.com.

Also, please share the fact that FOVRT maintains a website - www.rail-trail.ca - and a Facebook page to broadcast news and views on the recreational use of the rail bed: https://www.facebook.com/OttawaValleyRailTrail/

Mississippi Mills Council passes motion to support MM OVRT taskforce report

On June 27, 2017, Mississippi Mills Council reviewed the final recommendations put forward by the community-focused OVRT Taskforce that proposed compromises for the use of the trail. The recommendations were forwarded to the County of Lanark. As part of the recommendations, Mississippi Mills Council is asking that the County adopt, in principal, the recommendations set out in the final OVRT Taskforce report. The report indicates that there will be by-passes around downtown Almonte for snowmobiles and ATVs.  

Click here to read the Final MM Taskforce Report (which was pages 56-73 of the Mississippi Mills Council agenda for June 27, 2017)

Here is the wording of the motion that passed Council:

"That Mississippi Mills Council recommends to County Council: 

That the County of Lanark adopt, in principle, the recommendations contained in the Mississippi Mills OVRT Taskforce Final Recommendations Report;   

And that Mississippi Mills work with ATV and snowmobile user groups to identify specific bypass options and required upgrades"

So, Mississippi Mills Council has listened to its residents and developed a policy that will have no motorized vehicles on the portion of the trail within the town boundaries of Almonte.  FOVRT suggests that this is a first step on a longer trail.  Lanark County Council must now receive and integrate Mississippi Mills trail policy.  And other communities may wish to re-assess what this can mean for their residents.

FOVRT wishes to thank those volunteers who worked on the Taskforce and participated in its meetings. We acknowledge the support and hard work of Councillors Jill McCubbin and John Edwards, as well as the strong support of Almonte Councillor Alex Gillis. Finally, we want to indicate our thanks and on-going support to Councillor Jane Torrance and Mayor Shaun McLaughlin, both of whom supported the non-motorized designation in Almonte and will be championing Mississippi Mills trail policy to the Lanark County Council. 

Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail will keep you informed of the decision-making processes as they unfold in the next few months in Mississippi Mills and at the Lanark County Council. If you know of someone who wants to be kept informed on this matter, have them contact the FOVRT @ chrisg.george@gmail.com.

Possible decision tonight at Lanark County Council

At tonight's Lanark County Council meeting, councillors will consider whether there may be any designations for user groups on the rail trail or whether they will simply designate the full length of the 297 km trail as multi-use. 

The good news is that there is an option that will be entertained that allows for limited use within the boundaries of Almonte. (This option is not ideal, nor straight-forward, but it does demonstrate there is movement of opinion with the County Councillors and administration and a willingness to consider by-passes around the town.) This option reads: 

REPORT #CAO-11-2017 OTTAWA VALLEY RECREATION TRAIL "USAGE"

Chief Administrative Officer, Kurt Greaves

Suggested Motion:

“THAT, the Economic Development Committee recommends to County Council the following:

THAT, the Lanark County portion of the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail be designated as multi-use;

AND THAT, the definition of multi-use include all methods of self-propelled transportation, as well as horseback riding, snowmobiles, ATVs, and side-by-sides;

AND THAT, if a local municipality comes forward with bypass solutions that they are prepared to support and fund, that County Council would consider such alternatives.”

Report #CAO-11-2017 - Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail "Usage" - Pdf

Should this option be accepted, it will then go before County Council for a vote in early June. And if passed then, it is our assessment that it will provide the flexibility to have designations for non-motorized use reviewed in Almonte as well as on other parts of the trail (perhaps in Carleton Place and between our two communities.) 

If anyone is interested in attending the Lanark County Council, here are the details. 

Lanark County Council Meeting 

Wednesday, May 24 @ 5 pm 

Council Chambers 

99 Christie Lake Road, Perth

Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail will keep you informed as the decision-making processes unfold over the next 4-5 weeks at the County Council and at the Mississippi Mills OVRT Task Force. The progress report from the MM OVRT Task force is found here.

Chris George 

Secretary of Friends of OVRT

FOVRT Update: On our Councils and the disappointments

Good morning Friends, 

In the past two weeks, residents of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills have been disappointed by their respective town Councils. Both Councils have balked at sending a clear message to County Council, recommending the restriction of motorized vehicles on the rail trail through their communities.  

Next week County Council hears from CAO Kurt Greaves, who, we think, has been busy writing the management plan for the rail trail through Lanark County. (There will be no surprise at what we will hear from Kurt “no-snowmobiles-no-money-for-bridges” Greaves.)

So, CP and MM can expect all forms of motorized vehicles running the trails in the proposed County management plan. 

However, in the spirit of “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”, MM residents can have further say on the development of the trail through Almonte by making their views known in the announced Task Force process and with their town councillors. The Council still must vote on a trail-traffic policy through the urban area of MM (ward of Almonte). And CP residents still can make their views known to their town councillors on the development of town bylaws to be put in place for traffic on the trail – assuming there will be speed, noise, curfew bylaws. 

This has now become a municipal fight.

With the County championing a multi-use policy, the greatest pressure point for FOVRT in the weeks ahead will be with our respective town councils. Use every opportunity to make your views known. Continue to voice your concerns. 

Write to your Councillors c/o the town clerks:

·        In MM, write c/o Clerk Shawna Stone @ clerk@mississippimills.ca

·        In CP, write c/o Clerk Duncan Rogers @ drogers@carletonplace.ca

Ask the clerks to circulate your emails/letters to all Councillors.

Almonte residents: demand an explanation from those “nay saying” councillors  

At MM Council this week, this favourable motion for trail use was voted down with a tie vote: 

THAT, in the interim, Council recommend to Lanark County that for the portion of the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail (OVRT) that passes through Mississippi Mills, Council supports following the City of Ottawa's Rural Pathways Shared-Use Policy, which permits snowmobile use in winter in rural areas (not urban areas, which in Mississippi Mills’ case is only the ward of Almonte) and non-motorized use for the non-winter period. 

Recorded vote: 

For: Christa Lowry, Jane Torrance, Shaun McLaughlin, Amanda Pulker-Monk and Jill McCubbin. 

Against: Denzil Ferguson, Paul Watters, Val Wilkinson, Alex Gillis and Duncan Abbott.

Absent: John Edwards

The motion that Council eventually passed established a Task Force to arrive at a policy for use of the trail through MM:

THAT Council accept the proposal as presented as the process & format for reaching a FINAL comprehensive Mississippi Mills Council recommendation to Lanark County in regards to the use and management plan for the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) as it passes through Mississippi Mills. 

FOVRT suggests all Almonte residents write directly to their councillors to ask why they failed to represent their interests in restricting motorized vehicles on the trail through their neighbourhoods. Specifically, we suggest writing:

·        Alex Gillis - agillis@mississippimills.ca - who is a champion of the Riverwalk development that will be compromised by vehicles running the rail trail

·        Val Wilkinson - vwilkinson@mississippimills.ca - who has said she is against motorized vehicles in Almonte but voted otherwise

·        Duncan Abbott duncanmmills@gmail.com - who lives in Almonte near the trail and will be directly impacted by vehicle noise and pollution

Upcoming Weeks

FOVRT will keep you alerted to the developments leading to the County’s approval of the trail management plan as well as the MM and CP Councils’ deliberations on the trail through their respective communities. Please forward any news or feedback you may receive in the weeks ahead so that it can be shared with all of the FOVRT network. 

Chris George, Secretary of Friends of OVRT

Upcoming presentations in Carleton Place and at County

This week the Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail will be appearing before both Carleton Place and County Councils. 

Tuesday, March 21 @ 7 p.m. - Carleton Place Town Council 

Wednesday, March 22 @ 5 p.m. – Lanark County Economic Development Committee 

We will report after the meetings. For those supporters in Carleton Place, please tell your friends and make it out to the town council meeting. Your presence will be appreciated. We understand the snowmobile associations will be making a presentation as well – and we expect their supporters to be out in numbers. 

Also, as a reminder: Write to Your Local Councillors!

Please be sure that your local municipal councillors know your point of view. Write to your councillors via the Town Clerk. Ask the Clerk to forward a copy of your comments to the attention of all Councillors. Here are the emails: 

In Mississippi Mills, write c/o Clerk Shawna Stone @ clerk@mississippimills.ca

In Carleton Place, write c/o Clerk Duncan Rogers @ drogers@carletonplace.ca

Thanks,

Friends of OVRT

Letter of support from our local Olympian - thank you!

Jones in Sochi

Jones in Sochi

To those weighing the risks/benefits of a multi-use trail,

I've lived and spent time in a number of different communities that have adopted non-motorized trails in recent years, and there is always more use than anyone imagined. It creates an opportunity for skiers and bikers, hikers and runners who aren't comfortable on the roads. In a lot of cases these people are in addition to those who are already active (running, walking and biking) in their communities, it gets people and families outside that in the past have not felt they have a safe venue to do so. 

Providing a safe non-motorized path in Mississippi Mills and to the surrounding communities will have a tremendous impact, more than anyone can predict. Not only will the path be a safe area for people to get outside without cars zipping by, but it will also get less active members of the community outside, and provide yet another reason for people living in Ottawa to come and visit the Ottawa Valley.

As for winter use you would be surprised how many folks would jump at the opportunity to ski from Almonte to Pakenham and have lunch before returning. While in the summer families can bike to Scoops, or to Carleton place for an ice cream cone all the way from Almonte (yes people will do this!). The only way to test this out is to give it a try, but I’ve never seen a non-motorized path in any part of the country that was not well used (and appreciated) by the members in the community, and people in surrounding areas who come to use them. 

Thanks for your time,

Perianne Jones

2010 & 2014 Olympian grown in Almonte

Friends of the OVRT letter to Lanark County

RE: DEVELOPMENT OF THE OTTAWA VALLEY RECREATIONAL TRAIL  

February 28, 2017

County Council,

The Friends of Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (FOVRT) is a citizens group of Lanark County taxpayers who mainly reside in Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place, who have a vision for the development of approximately 30 kms of the CP rail bed as a non-motorized, recreational trail. The designated recreational trail would loop into the non-motorized recreational trails of the National Capital Region, starting in Carleton Place and the TransCanada Trail, through Almonte and to Pakenham, where it can connect with current routes through West Carleton.

The trail should be developed as a new economic and tourism asset in our region, one that promotes safe, physical, environmental, and improved public health outcomes for citizens of all ages and abilities. It would be a new attraction for the downtown cores of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place communities. A non-motorized trail running through the heart of our towns will have great tourism potential and the trail will provide safe commuting for students, runners, and those who wish to cycle or hike between the communities.

FOVRT and the groups and individuals who have expressed their support for a non-motorized recreational trail within the communities of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place believe in the following statements:

  • A non-motorized recreational trail will be of the greatest economic, environmental, social and health benefit to the communities of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills.
  • To maximize the trail’s future tourism and economic potential, the trail needs to be developed and promoted in Ottawa as a safe and accessible experience for families, cyclists, walkers and local community uses.
  • ATVs and snowmobiles already have local trail infrastructure, use of the roadways and a variety of established routes through the County; whereas, there is a need for an alternative, active transportation route.

To develop a small portion of the rail bed through the most populated centres of the County as an active transportation route makes the most sense for local residents and for visitors and tourists.

Lanark County is fortunate to have a great existing trail infrastructure already in place for snowmobiles and ATVs. However, there is a need for a recreational, non-motorized trail – as today nothing like this exists. In developing the rail bed as a recreational trail, the County would be supporting initiatives by health organizations and community groups to promote greater physical activity by providing safe, active transportation routes from one community or part of town to another, whether it be children cycling to school, or seniors walking, or residents snowshoeing into town. 

We see this as an exciting opportunity for Lanark County to develop a new asset – and we hope the County will consider the 30 kms of trail that run through the communities of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place as a specially designated non-motorized recreational trail.

We hope and trust the County’s decision-making process on the development and the management of the rail trail will be fully transparent to the public. This is an issue that residents in Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place have a great interest in.

FOVRT wishes County Council and officials the best in their deliberations on the development of the trail. When the County reaches the stage of developing the details of the OVRT Management Plan, we would be prepared to collaborate, along with the many other stakeholders, to provide further input as appropriate.

Sincerely, on behalf of the Friends of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail,

Chris George

Secretary of Friends of OVRT

Friends of Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail   

c/o Chris George

P.O. Box 1681

Almonte, Ontario

K0A 1A0

Building a new asset in Lanark County & you have 7 days left to give official feedback...

The County is accepting feedback on proposed uses of the OVRT until March 1, 2017. If you have comments in regards to only "non-motorized use within town", then send that, if you have comments about garbage collection on the trail, then send that, if you'd like Carleton Place and Almonte to be linked by an active transportation / non-motorized trail all summer, then send that!

If you think motorized use of the trail will increase policing costs within your municipality over and above what the tax base can afford, send that. If your main concern is safety of children in town, please send that! You can send all these comments or others...

This is one slide from the FOVRT power point - click in to see all!

This is one slide from the FOVRT power point - click in to see all!

Comments go to OVRT@lanarkcounty.ca . Please encourage everyone (your partner, other family members, friends) to send their views as well. Even if you filled out a survey form at one of the four Lanark County Open Houses, please email and register your feelings in greater detail.

Click into the slide image (one slide of many) to review the FOVRT power point presentation. FOVRT is trying to add a new attraction to the mix in Lanark County based on the promotion of non-motorized uses on the OVRT. A new, non-motorized trail would be an additional asset for the County... while still protecting and promoting existing motorized trail networks and access to services for motorized users.

Feb 7 communication from the Friends of OVRT

Hello Friends! 

This is the third communications sent to our growing list of supporters sharing the vision of a non-motorized recreational trail linking Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills.  

In the next few weeks it will be very important for people to voice their thoughts and concerns about the rail trail development. 

  • There is one more Lanark County Open House in Almonte on Thurs. Feb. 16, at 6:30pm at the Almonte Old Town Hall Auditorium
  • We have until March 1 to submit written comments to the County (email OVRT@lanarkcounty.ca). 

After that, the public may not have another chance to directly impact the decision-making process at the County.

To keep everybody informed on the process and to ensure we all know the facts of the matter, Friends of the OVRT have developed a few sources for share news and information: 

  • This website
  • A Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OttawaValleyRailTrail/
  • our email list

Please share our information with your friends. Let us know if we can add your name or organization's name to our public webpage. Join our Facebook page and share the posts. If you know of someone who wants to get involved, have them contact us.  

We will be in touch later this week with further background materials and our group’s media to help prepare for the Open House in Almonte next week. If you have ideas or information that will help this cause, we would love to hear from you.

Who are the Friends of the OVRT? 

The Friends of Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail is a group of Lanark County citizens, mainly in Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place, who have a vision for the development of the CP rail bed as a non-motorized, recreational trail in Lanark (through Mississippi Mills and Almonte to Carleton Place).

We want to see the trail developed as a new economic and tourism asset in our region, one that promotes safe, physical, environmental, and improved public health outcomes for citizens of all ages and abilities. It would be a new attraction for the downtown cores of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place communities. A non-motorized trail running through the heart of our towns will have great tourism potential and the trail will provide safe commuting for students, runners, and those who wish to cycle or hike between the communities.

What are the group’s core beliefs? 

Friends of OVRT support the following statements:

  • A non-motorized recreational trail will be of the greatest economic, environmental, social and health benefit to the communities of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills
  • To maximize the trail’s future tourism and economic potential, the trail needs to be developed and promoted in Ottawa as a safe and accessible experience for families, cyclists, walkers and local community uses.
  • ATVs and snowmobiles already have local infrastructure and use of the roadways – and a variety of established routes through the County. Therefore, the County and its municipalities should not feel compelled to develop the whole length of the OVRT for motorized uses.

What is the group’s position on motorized vehicles on the OVRT? 

We have nothing against ATVs or snowmobiles only a keen interest in developing a new and different tourism and economic attraction for Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills – one that can link into the growing communities of western Ottawa.

Lanark County is fortunate to have a great trail infrastructure already in place for snowmobiles and ATVs. However, there is a need for a recreational, non-motorized trail – as today nothing like this exists. 

We see this as an exciting opportunity for Lanark County to develop a new asset – and we hope the County will consider this small portion of trail through the communities of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place as a specially designated recreational trail. 

It’s not either-or for our communities, but the opportunity for us to have both.

 

 

A Trail for Coleman Island

If you live on or near Coleman Island, or even if you don't, you might be interested in a couple of things that are happening in the "Island" neighbourhood.

The first thing is that the Riverwalk Committee here in Almonte is planning a project that would see a trail built to enable people to legally cross the private bridge at the north end of the Island, safely walk across the earthen dam, and then climb up a staircase to reach the CP Rail right-of-way. Mike Dupuis, the owner of the private bridge and the property beyond it (otherwise known as the Pinehurst Gatehouse), the Almonte Ward of Mississippi Mills, MRPC and the Textile Museum are all collaborating to make this happen. Some of the funding still needs to be put in place, and some property issues have yet to be sorted out, so the project won't be completed for a while yet, but it all sounds very promising.

The second thing (and very much related to the first) is that the County of Lanark has recently finalized the purchase of the CP Rail right-of-way, and they are in the process of going through a series of Open Houses so people can learn the future plans for what will become known as the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT). The Open House in Almonte is planned for February 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Old Town Hall.

I am very excited about the prospect of being able to walk over the Millworkers Walk and Staircase to the OVRT. This would give locals and visitors alike a great option for a traffic-free walkable connector from the Union Street North neighbourhood to the Island community and the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. With this link in place, many attractive walking loops, and out and back trips, would be possible in this area of town, and the whole notion of active (people-powered) transportation starts to take on a new meaning.

The main purpose of this note is to inform, but I think if you have questions about the Riverwalk initiative, you should feel free to contact Councillor Alex Gillis (Riverwalk Committee Chair), Councillor Paul Watters (Riverwalk Committee member), or Diane Smithson (MM CAO) to get more information. I'm also quite sure that you could speak to our own island resident Councillor Jane Torrance, because I expect that she is also very interested in seeing this project through.

The other purpose of the note is to encourage you to come to the Lanark County OVRT Open House on February 16, to learn about the County's plans for the rail trail, and see exactly how all of these pieces will fit together.

Exciting times!

Brad Jones

Shepherd Street (Coleman Island), Almonte

Jan 31 communication from the Friends of OVRT

Hello to our growing list of supporters, 

This is our second communications sent to friends supporting the development of a non-motorized recreational trail linking Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills.  

Please read the article - Voice Your Thoughts on the Rail Trail - published in the February 2017 issue of The Humm. (Click here or into the image below to read the article.) You can also find a neighbourhood information bulletin under this site's Resources tab. The bulletin explains some of the details related to the development of the trail. 

FOVRT Article published in the February 2017 issue of The Humm

FOVRT Article published in the February 2017 issue of The Humm

Open Houses in Carleton Place and Almonte are upon us!  We ask that you attempt to mark both events to voice your interests. NOTE: the Open House in Carleton Place has been moved to the arena hall. 

Carleton Place 

Thurs. Feb. 2 at 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

Carleton Place Arena (Upstairs Hall) 

75 Neelin Street 

Almonte 

Thurs. Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Almonte Old Town Hall Auditorium

If you can not attend an Open House, you can submit your comments about the trail to ovrt@lanarkcounty.ca These formal comments will find their way into a final report and are integral to County's public process. Comments/lobbying to County Councillors can be made directly by phone or email and the contact info is here: https://lanarkcounty.civicweb.net/Portal/Welcome.aspx