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