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!