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