Paving the Way on the Georgian Trail

5906oAlthough I’ve not yet had any clients claim they wished to move to the Georgian Triangle because of the awesome trails in the area, many have said that the active lifestyle opportunities here are a big draw.  Our trails through-out the region are well known and a great deal of time, money and effort continues to be applied to their expansion and maintenance.

Recently, the Georgian Ski and Cycle Association made presentations to area councils asking them to partner in a $1 million project to pave the full length of the 34 km Georgian Trail.  The reasons for paving included:

– It could reduce maintenance, especially weed growth
– It would be more accessible to wheelchair users
– It would be easier for cyclists
– It was always intended to be paved
– That world-class trails are paved and that therefore it would be a big tourist draw. 

There is a flip side to this discussion as a reader pointed out to me in a recent email.  She said,

I was upset to hear this idea; as I think it is a poor decision for the following reasons:

– proven to be more stressful on joints to exercise (run, walk, bike) on paved surfaces-this is a big one. 
– affect the drainage of the trail; very wet areas along it- will worsen if paved likely
– shorter cross country ski season/snowshoeing with increased melt if paved
– more maintenance long term I would assume of paved surfaces over gravel
– harder on dogs paws
– loss of natural appeal it currently has

It seems as though there is a possibility that they will approve this without a public discussion opportunity; which I think is awful.  If they are looking for a grant, why don’t they use the money to form more trails instead of paving the exisitng one that is sufficient and appealing as is.”

According to an article in the local Collingwood Connection newspaper, it’s true that there may or may not be a public process for input into this matter.  (This is precisely why municipalities should have long-range strategic plans and prioritized plans for capital expenditures!)

I really don’t know which arguments are valid and am interested to hearing what others have to say.  What’s your opinion this subject?

July 20, 2009 Update:  The funding application was denied so for now, the trails will NOT be paved.  From everything I’ve heard and read, I suspect most people will be happy with that news.


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is an award-winning real estate Broker who has successfully been helping people move since 1989. When it’s time for a move in or out of a bigger, smaller, better, more expensive, less expensive, newer, older, house, condo, farm, investment property, vacant lot or business, talk to Marg.

This entry was posted by Marg on Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 10:06 am and is filed under About Town, Local News and Current Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Comments

  1. Katrina says:

    i would not want it to be paved. i ride my bike ont the trail all the time and have thick wheels so it does not affect my biking. i do not wear the latest bicycling gear to make me look better or ride faster, rather i enjoy being out in the fresh air. Paving the trail would make it starile for me and the trail will lose its appeal. My dog runs along my bike on a leash and he would hurt his paws if he had to run on hot pavement. I think the gravel gets hard enough for whellchairs. Perhaps the trail that is paved at harbourview park is enough. The out lying trails should remain harmonious and blend into the nature surrounding it.

  2. Marg says:

    Great points Katrina. I can understand that the maintenance aspect is easier if it is paved however, the environmental aspect of putting tar on the earth os most disturbing to me. I did a little searching on the internet and it seems many “world-class” trails are not paved. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I think the whole idea of paving the trail makes no sense at all! Let’s see…quicker melt for an already short ski/snowshoe season, those poor dogs paws in the heat, my own legs running on pavement instead of a cushioned limestone crushed gravel, hardenend and more dangerous environment for the animals that like to scurry along and have a little rest and sun shine (last time I was on the trail I saw a baby snapping turtle basking in the sun) with increased speed of pedestrians/cyclists (likely roller blading and skateboarding now too) the turtle for example, would perhaps go unnoticed and be injured. In addition to the above, how about destroying the natural look and appeal of the current trail. I don’t know that paving it will lower the maintenance costs either; you still have to re tar every so often and most of the vegetation they speak of that is encroaching on the trail are bushes along the side that will still need to be trimmed, not stuff popping up on the actual trail. I plan to do some training this season for a few triathlons I hope to enter this summer. I was really looking forward to running and biking along the scenic trail(and it is better for my joints if it is gravel) and stopping for a swim at the local public beaches…we are currently very lucky to have this all in close proximity to where we live. I don’t think I will be running on the trail if it is paved, or even going for a nice walk; it just wouldn’t be the same.
    Lastly, how can three municipalities (Meaford, Collingwood, and Blue Mountains) jointly decide to go ahead with this without our public opinions at least being heard before a decision is made??? And why is a provincial grant being offered to complete much of this inteneded paving when I thought we were enacting more GREEN thinking in our societies??? Why don’t we create more trails and leave the current one alone!

  4. Marg says:

    Again, great comments. I would strongly suggest you write a letter with your concerns to each of the municipalities involved as well as to the Association and to your area MPP. Maybe even the funding body. In your letters to the towns, ask that a public meeting be held and that your letter be publicly discussed at a town meeting if possible as opposed to be lost in the consent agendas.

  5. Peter says:

    As a runner, I much prefer the gravel paths. They are much easier on the joints, and the impact of the gravel path on the environment is much softer too. If gravel paths work for Paris, they will work for Collignwood.

    Peter

  6. Marg says:

    Thanks for your comment Peter. It seems that most people using the path would agree with you. It will be interesting to see if public meetings are held on this or not.

  7. Kate Belec says:

    It seems that most people replying to this site are on the the same page. In fact, everyone I have spoken to is very much opposed to paving the trail for all of the reasons mentioned above. My additional concern would be sharing the trail with rollerbladers, skateboarders, and the like. If as they claim, only short urban stretches will be paved, it will not be very appealing to those users, which brings up my next concern. Is this the thin edge of the wedge for the entire trail to be paved?
    I have written my councillors and suggest everyone do the same.

    Kate Belec
    Meaford

  8. Marg says:

    Glad to hear you’ve written to your councillors and it’s important everyone who feels this way make their views known. I agree that I have not spoken to anyone who feels paving is the way to go. Thanks for your comment.

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