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,
2010 & 2014 Olympian grown in Almonte