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