The physical environment committee of Carleton Place town council is encouraging Lanark County to adopt a compromise position on usage of the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT), one that envisions separate, parallel trails running within a common corridor.
The April 4 decision follows a series of open houses and presentations to council from residents as well as members of various outdoor recreational groups who have argued the relative benefits and drawbacks associated with motorized vehicles having access to the trail.
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Carleton Place Chief Administrative Officer Paul Knowles told council he did not view motorized vehicles and pedestrians as a compatible fit if forced to share the same pathway, noting that Lanark County should also clarify exactly what it means by “multi-use.”
Councillor Theresa Fritz questioned whether Lanark County could override the wishes of individual municipalities who ask that the trail be tailored to their respective needs.
The answers to such concerns will have to be addressed at the county level, but in the meantime, Deputy Mayor Jerry Flynn said council’s corridor proposal presents “the best scenario yet. I don’t think we can do better than that. We already have snowmobiles in town, and whether they’re on this trail or on the trails that skirt around town, there is a speed limit, and snowmobile clubs do police themselves very well. And the beauty of it is that we do have the room in town to make this work.”
Councillor Doug Black voted against the motion, concluding “the impact on the quality of life of those residents whose properties abut the OVR corridor is just too severe.”
Lanark County is expected to host additional meetings in the coming weeks to respond to municipal input.